Javier Cardona went to Cleveland in early June for the 27-year-old Rodriguez, who was hitting .245 at the time for Buffalo (Triple-A). By the end of July, Rodriguez was the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month, hitting .342 for Memphis. On the 18th of that month, he made his major league debut when Reggie Sanders went onto the disabled list.
Rodriguez went on to hit .295 with five home runs and 24 RBI for the Cardinals in 149 at-bats in 2005. This season, he is batting .392 with a .450 on-base mark and is slugging .510. His .960 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) is second best on the team, after Albert Pujols.
Before Saturday's game, Rodriguez discussed what he is doing to continue to better himself as a hitter, baserunner and fielder and is clearly not taking his status for granted.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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