Henry Rodriguez (rodrihe03)
Henry Alberto Rodriguez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 210 lb.
Rodriguez began his professional career in 2005, going 0-2 with a 4.03 ERA for the DSL Athletics 1. He came stateside in 2006, with the AZL Athletics. With them, he went 5-2 with a save and a 7.42 ERA in 15 games (four starts), striking out 59 batters in 43 2/3 innings of work. His control was horrible, as he walked a league-high 50. He was 4th in the Arizona League in strikeouts.
In 2007, he went 6-8 with a 3.07 ERA in 20 games (18 starts), striking out 106 batters but walking 58 in 99 2/3 innings for the Kane County Cougars. Opponents hit only .214 against him and he surrendered just two home runs all year.
He split the 2008 season between the Stockton Ports and the Midland RockHounds. He was 2-3 with 2 saves and a 3.96 ERA for Stockton, allowing a .208 average and fanning 104 while walking 40 in 75 IP. With Midland, he went 2-7 with a 7.46 ERA, fanning 43 but walking 44 in 41 innings. He finally proved to be hittable, surrendering a .302 average. He led A's farmhands that year in both walks and strikeouts. In fact, he tied for the walk lead in the affiliated minors. Baseball America rated him as having the best fastball in the California League and as being the circuit's 9th-best prospect. In the 2008 Futures Game, he pitched a scoreless 8th inning for the World team to set up closer Shairon Martis. Henry relieved Fernando Salas and opened by walking Bryan Anderson on 4 pitches, all between 97 and 99 mph. He hit 100 mph on the radar gun while fanning Chris Valaika. He then struck out Greg Golson on 4 pitches, 3 of them 99 mph. He concluded the fastball fest by whiffing Chris Getz on 5 pitches, hitting 98 or 99 four times.
Rodriguez spent most of 2009 with the Sacramento River Cats, going 2-1 with 4 saves and a 5.77 ERA. He struck out an amazing 71 in 43 2/3 IP in his AAA debut but also walked 38.
He made his major league debut with the A's in the closing days of the 2009 season, pitching an inning in relief against the Texas Rangers on September 21. He relieved Jeff Gray to open the 8th with a 8-1 deficit. He began by giving up a single to Julio Borbon. Elvis Andrus hit into a force, but Rodriguez threw two wild pitches while walking David Murphy. He then plunked Marlon Byrd to load the bases. Hank Blalock hit into a two-run error. Rodriguez recovered to get Ian Kinsler on a fly, then fanned Nelson Cruz. For the 9th, he was replaced by Santiago Casilla. He pitched three times in the major leagues that season, with no record and a 2.25 ERA in 4 innings, then made 29 appearances for the A's in 2010. He recorded a win with a 4.55 ERA, pitching 27 2/3 innings, during which he struck out 33 batters. On December 16th, he was traded to the Washington Nationals with Corey Brown in return for Josh Willingham.
The young fireballer had a good first season with the Nationals in 2011, pitching 59 times in relief with a record of 3-3, 2 saves and a 3.56 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings. On the downside, his control left something to be desired though, as he walked 45 batters and led the National League with 14 wild pitches. With the Nats' closer slot open at the start of the 2012 season, manager Davey Johnson gave him a chance to prove his mettle. He racked up 9 saves by May 16th, but injuries forced him to miss almost all of June, and he struggled after coming back in July, making his last appearance of the year on July 31st. He was not available when the Nationals played in the postseason, finishing the year with a record of 1-3, 5.83. His control problems did not improve, as he walked 22 batters and threw 10 wild pitches in 29 1/3 innings. He had fallen well down the Nationals' depth chart in 2013, and did not help his cause by walking 16 batters over his first 18 innings. He was 0-1, 4.00 when the Nats designated him for assignment in early June and then traded him to the Chicago Cubs on June 11th, in return for minor league pitcher Ian Dickson.