Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz

The American Association seems to have eight of its graduates pretty well assured of major league jobs come Opening Day (barring the need to go on the disabled list), but the next wave of a half dozen hopefuls is what makes the last two weeks of spring training especially appealing for those of us watching from the sidelines.  It is nail-biting, of course, for the players.

Our study shows these six right-handed pitchers (alphabetically) as still having the best chance out of the league’s original contingent of 20 of reaching April 6 on major league rosters:  Mark Hamburger (St. Paul) with Minnesota, John Holdzkom (Amarillo, Sioux City) with Pittsburgh, James Hoyt (Wichita) with Houston, Chris Martin (Grand Prairie) with the New York Yankees, Chaz Roe (Laredo) with Baltimore and Bo Schultz (Sioux Falls, Grand Prairie) with Toronto.

Then there is the case of “the other Rodriguez“, Eddy, with the Yankees.  It appears he is likely to be sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA, perhaps as the No. 1 catching insurance in case anything happens to Brian McCann or his likely backup, John Ryan Murphy.

Eddy Rodriguez is not complaining.  He is happy to be alive after escaping a harrowing boat trip from Cuba with his family when he was seven years old and, among other things, making friends with Alex Rodriguez in recent years.

He (Eddy) can catch — we know that,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi told The New York Times for a lengthy feature the newspaper did on the 29-year-old, whose major league career so far consists of a home run in his first at-bat for San Diego in 2012 when he went 1-for-5 in two games.  The question is whether E-Rod can hit much in the majors, even though he  banged 21 homers during the 164 games he played in the American Association (El Paso and Sioux Falls) in ’09-’10.

“I’ve reached out to him (Alex Rodriguez) a lot over the last few years,” Eddy told The Times.  “We’ve hit together, trained together.  I think I’m a good catcher, but hitting has always been my Achilles’ heel.  This off-season, and this spring, Alex has helped me a lot, simplifying my swing and my approach.  He’s always been very, very giving.”

Eddy Rodriguez has used his bat for two doubles this spring (2-for-8) with two runs and an RBI in seven Grapefruit League games.


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