Rodriguez Named Assistant

(Mankato, MN) — The Mankato MoonDogs Baseball Club, a member of the Northwoods League, is proud to announce the signing of assistant coach Hector Rodriguez to their 2005 coaching staff.

Rodriguez comes to the MoonDogs from the University of Texas – San Antonio (UTSA) where he is currently in his second season of coaching. After playing for the Road Runners from 1999—2003, where he was a four-year letter winner, Rodriguez was a student assistant coach in 2004. Upon graduation, he returned to his alma mater for his second season as a coach, this time as a volunteer.

"Hector is young, exciting coach who will bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to Mankato this summer,” MoonDogs head coach Robbie Huffstetler said.

During his playing career, Rodriguez showed great control of a number of pitches, as he fanned 109 batters and allowed only 56 walks. Averaging nearly a 2/1 K to BB ratio all four years, Rodriguez lead the UTSA staff in ERA in 2000, before an injured rotator cuff forced him to be a medical redshirt and miss the 2001 season.

In the summer of 2004, Rodriguez expanded his coaching resume as the pitching coach of the Allegany County Nitros, of the New York Collegiate Summer Baseball League. He helped the Nitros attain a 30-12 record, finishing only one game back in the Western Division.

"As exciting as it for players to come to the Northwoods League, I am just as excited as a coach because of the talent level and caliber of players the league brings in and I get to work with,” Rodriguez said. "I’m really looking forward to being a resource for the guys and help them in moving on in their professional careers.”

Rodriguez will take the reigns of a pitching staff that is the only team in the NWL history to record more than 1,000 strikeouts over two consecutive seasons, 499 in 2003 and 503 in 2004. With two returning closers in Neil Wagner and Kevin Dixon, who each bring a 90+ mph fastball with them, look for the MoonDogs strikeout totals to continue to climb in 2005.

"Hector comes highly recommended from both UTSA and from the Nitros. His experience and success as both a player and coach in summer collegiate leagues speaks highly of his abilities and what he can bring with him to Mankato,” MoonDogs general manager Kyle Mrozek said.

The MoonDogs home opener is set for June 6, 2005, against the St. Cloud River Bats. Season and group tickets are on sale now with single game tickets available May 7. Call the MoonDogs office at 507-625-7047 or check out for more information.