ARLINGTON -- Whenever a young player makes his Major League debut, there's always a chance the first-game jitters could get to him and make it memorable for all the wrong reasons.
But if there were any such nerves for Ricardo Rodriguez, he certainly didn't show it. The 24-year-old righty, who had his contract purchased from Double-A Frisco last week, threw a 12-pitch perfect inning in Monday's 6-2 win over the Tigers in his debut performance, striking out James McCann and Alex Presley and inducing a lineout from Jose Iglesias.
Rodriguez became the first Texas reliever to retire all three batters faced with at least two strikeouts in a debut since Scott Feldman on Aug. 31, 2005.
"What an impressive debut for a young guy," manager Jeff Banister said. "A great inning, very calm, didn't look like a young guy in his first Major League game. He pounded the strike zone."
In 35 relief appearances with Frisco and high Class A Down East this season, Rodriguez went 5-1 with 17 saves and a 1.34 ERA, and he averaged 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Opponents batted .149 against him.
For one night at least, Major Leaguers are batting .000 against Rodriguez, who has overcome a long journey filled with injuries and setbacks -- including Tommy John surgery -- to reach the ultimate goal.
"Really, I only expected to throw strikes," Rodriguez said. "I tried to attack the zone and get people out. That's what I expected of myself. The two strikeouts, that's good, but I'm only trying to attack the zone."