As one leaves, another joins as the Cardinals signed right-hander Pedro Rodriguez. The native of Venezuela turns 22 years of age this coming Saturday.
The 6-foot, 165-pounder is currently pitching for Caribes in Venezuelan winter ball where he has a 2-0 record and has yet to allow a run in 11 2/3 innings over six games. He has fanned eight and issued no walks.
Rodriguez was originally a July 2nd signing by the Boston Red Sox at the age of 16. He inked his first deal on July 7, 2004 and made a brief, five-game debut with the 2005 Venezuelan Summer League Red Sox. As a starter, he yielded 12 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings for a 6.89 ERA. Still, he showed promise with six innings of three-hit shutout ball thrown against the Reds that June 13.
In 2006, Rodriguez moved up to the Dominican Summer League, where he was a standout reliever. He led the club with four saves, tied for the team lead with 19 appearances and ranked third on his squad with 42 strikeouts. He exhibited good control, walking just nine. Rodriguez posted a stellar ERA of 1.99 over 45 1/3 innings, not allowing runs in 13 outings.
Rodriguez did not play in 2007 or 2008. He underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2007 and missed all of the next season, too. Rodriguez was released in May, 2009 amid reports the Red Sox were dissatisfied with his recovery. Pre-injury, his fastball was clocked at 91-92 mph but in the VSL, he was reportedly sitting 87-88 for the most part. His 2010 assignment is not known at this time.
His second year as a professional proved to be challenging for Jonny Bravo. In mid-July, the left-handed pitcher was assigned to the short-season Batavia Muckdogs. He was coming off a disabled list stay due to shoulder soreness and had finished a rehab stint with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. Bravo began the season with Class A Quad Cities, but struggled mightily, allowing 13 earned runs in just 5 1/3 innings.
With the Muckdogs, the 23-year-old pitched better, but not good enough to keep his contract. Bravo yielded nine earned runs in 17 2/3 innings for a 4.58 ERA. He fanned 22 but also walked eight.
Bravo had been selected by the Cardinals in the 23rd round of the 2008 amateur draft from Azusa Pacific. He began his career with Rookie level Johnson City. In the Appalachian League, Bravo compiled a 1-3 record, 3.34 ERA, and earned one save in ten appearances, including one start.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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