Davey Johnson: 'Tough day for me'
The Nationals held out hope for relief pitcher Henry Rodriguez for nearly three years, waiting to see if the right-hander with triple digit heat could figure out how to command the strike zone. Some days he would look dominant, but others he would find the backstop as often as he did the plate.
Washington traded Josh Willingham to the Oakland Athletics for Rodriguez in 2010, a decent price for the reliever even though they also got minor league outfielder Corey Brown in return. Giving up what they did for Rodriguez may have been a reason for their continued patience over the last few years.
“He was a guy we traded for, we liked at the time to trade,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We thought that we could make him an impact-type of reliever and it just didn’t work out for us.”
Rodriguez pitched three seasons in Washington with a 4.22 ERA in 111 appearances and posted 11 saves. But his continued tendency to be wild made him a liability for the Nationals. On Saturday he allowed a walkoff hit to the Atlanta Braves in the tenth inning. This was after firing wild pitches and walking two batters.
“I tried to make it consistent. I didn’t want it to be inconsistent,” Rodriguez said.
“Sometimes I look at my videos and I throw a strike and the umpire doesn’t call it. I get behind the hitter in the count.”
Rodriguez also had elbow surgery during the offseason, forcing him to sit out part of the winter.
“I had a long time off not pitching,” he said. “I started coming back and it started feeling good. I think I got a little bit bad luck. I worked every day and tried getting better. It’s hard to understand it.”
Rodriguez attributed some of his troubles to not playing winter ball.
“I used to do winter ball and I think it helped me. Staying working, practicing, working on my pitching. This is my first year not playing there and maybe that didn’t help me,” he said.
Now Rodriguez has three days to pass through waivers. Once he does there will be a seven day period he can either be traded, released, or outrighted to the minor leagues.
“I feel good and I am waiting for another team to give me an opportunity again,” he said. “I’m going to keep my head up.”