Published On: May 5th, 2009



Date: May 5, 2009

Former Huskies Pitcher Rodriguez Makes MLB Debut

(NEW YORK, NY) Los Angeles Angels right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez made his Major League debut Saturday afternoon in an 8-4 win against the New York Yankees at the new Yankee Stadium. The former Duluth Huskie struggled in his first outing allowing three runs, two earned, in two-thirds of an inning. He entered the game to start the ninth inning with the Angels leading 8-1. Rodriguez retired two of the first three batters he faced before allowing a two-run home run to Jorge Posada. A walk and an error extended the game and the 24-year old was replaced. 

Rodriguez’s stock with the Angels rose quickly from a very mediocre season at Double-A in 2008. Pitching mostly as a starter he was 7-11 with a 5.53 ERA in 136.2 innings striking out 85 for Arkansas of the Texas League. However, they moved him to the bullpen in August where he became a much more effective pitcher going 2-1 with a 2.12 ERA and striking out 17 in 17 innings. In his new role as a reliever, Rodriguez received an invitation to this year’s spring training with the big league club and continued to impress. He carried a 3.48 ERA while striking out 14 and walking only three in 10.1 innings. He was one of the final cuts as camp came to a close. A 2.38 ERA through six April appearances at Triple-A Salt Lake put Rodriguez in position for the early-season call up. 

For the Huskies in 2003, the 6’3”, 215 pound Rodriguez pitched in six games making one start. He finished his three-week stint in the Northwoods League with a 0-1 record, two saves, 5.73 ERA, and eight strikeouts in 11 innings. He was drafted by the Angels in the 18th round that same year and left Duluth to begin his professional career. He played his one season of college ball in his hometown for El Paso Community College in Texas.

Rodriguez becomes the 55th Northwoods League player to make it to the big leagues and the fourth Duluth Huskies player to do so. All four have been pitchers from Duluth’s 2003 or 2004 seasons, the first two years of the franchise’s existence. Joe Bisenius, Doug Mathis, and Mark Melancon are the others with Melancon debuting for the Yankees one week ago.

The Northwoods League plays more games than, draws more fans than, and plays in venues superior to any Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America. The league will begin its 16th season on May 28th.

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