The Pre-Injury Wandy Rodriguez Would Be a Huge Boost to the Rotation

Last year the Pittsburgh Pirates had question marks at the back of their rotation heading into the season. They had Jeff Locke, who came with the normal questions that a rookie would have. They also had Jonathan Sanchez in the fifth spot in the rotation, after the lefty signed a minor league deal in the off-season. That doesn’t include the questions wondering which James McDonald would show up in 2013 — the first half version from 2012 or the second half version?

This year the Pirates have questions marks in the back of the rotation. Edinson Volquez is a bounce back candidate, while there are questions on how Wandy Rodriguez will return from his injury. If Rodriguez can return healthy, and pitch like he did with the Pirates before his injury, that will be a huge boost to the 2014 rotation.

Rodriguez took a big step today in answering that question, pitching one inning in his 2014 Spring Training debut. After the game he said his forearm feels good.

Rodriguez gave up an unearned run thanks to two errors, but also recorded two strikeouts. His only mistake was hitting Sean Rodriguez with the second pitch of the game. He noted that he was uncertain about how his stuff would be before facing the first batter, but that he got more comfortable as the game went on. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle noticed the confidence growing.

“Good step forward for him today,” Hurdle said. “He was probably still a little nervous until after that first pitch, then you could see the confidence grow as the inning went on.”

Rodriguez only went one inning, which was the plan today. He said he could go 2-3 innings his next time out, after two days of rest, a bullpen session, and two days off. Hurdle said that they don’t have a definite timeline for his upcoming schedule, but said he will at least get multiple innings the next time out.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Leefoo Rug Bug

    Great start, Wandy!

  • jschwartz

    There are a lot of naysayers here in the Pittsburgh media in regards to the back end of the rotation. Colin Dunlap basically had an entire show talking about how the Pirated look terrible in the 4-5 spots. I just had to laugh. My goodness, last year we started the year with Sanchez as our fifth starter…

    • Y2JGQ2

      The backup part of the rotation is great, its the front part which worries me without burnett. Of course in my opinion our 6-8 starters are all better than our fifth. I’d take Locke or Cumpton or Gomez over Volquez and i’ll tell everyone i see the same thing

  • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

    Good news from Way-Rod!

  • buster09

    There is always the possibility that people like a Colin Dunlap have no idea what they are talking about. Rob Biertemple is on the MLB XM channel show ” Minors and Majors ” @ 8: 30 Sunday AM. Rob DOES have an idea of what he is talking about by the way.

  • https://profiles.google.com/105668650510920614054 Brian Bernard

    Wandy is the Bucs version of Matt Garza this year. He is capable of being a very strong starter as he showed early last year. If he is back, it’s like signing a bigtime FA as good as the team was last year that was without Wandy for the most part.

    • emjayinTN

      BB: Kinda nice having Wandy at the back of the Rotation, and even better because Houston is picking up about half of his salary. A crafty lefty is a great option between 2 hard throwing RHSP’s, and I think he will have a VG year with the added incentive that he will be a Free Agent after the 2014 season.