There was a small sample size earlier this season where you might have thought that Joely Rodriguez might be getting the hang of how to pitch in the majors. Between April 16th and May 1st, he went nine straight appearances without allowing a run. In the eight innings during that span, he allowed just four hits and no walks, while striking out four. The stretch lowered his ERA from 11.81 down to 4.73 and things were looking better for the 25-year old lefty.
That was then.
In May, Rodriguez posted a 6.75 ERA and in three June appearances, his ERA ballooned to 13.50. On Wednesday night, he didn't allow any runs of his own, but he did allow all three of the runners that he inherited - left there by fellow lefty Adam Morgan - to score.
The Phillies acquired Rodriguez from Pittsburgh in December of 2014 for another lefty, Antonio Bastardo. Rodriguez made his major league debut last September with the Phillies and pitched in 12 games with a 2.79 ERA raising hope that he might have turned a corner even back then. He made the team out of Spring Training, but quickly got into trouble when he allowed three earned runs in two innings in his second outing of the season, and by April 11th, his ERA was at 11.81 after four outings.
The Phillies didn't immediately make a corresponding roster move to fill the spot on the roster. The team now has 10 days to either work out a trade, release him or put him through waivers in an effort to assign him to a minor league team. The move opened an immediate spot on the 40-man roster, which could be filled by Rodriguez' successor.
One name mentioned as a successor is left-hander Hoby Milner, who was selected by Cleveland in last December's Rule 5 Draft but returned to the Phillies during Spring Training. Milner has a 1.88 ERA in 19 relief appearances with the IronPigs, but likely won't be able to pitch for a day or two after throwing 2 1/3 innings in relief for Lehigh Valley Wednesday night.