Rodriguez Stokes Four Hits

Yorman Rodriguez stroked four hits in a losing effort for Pensacola Saturday. He has been a high-profile prospects since the Reds invested $2.5 million on the Venezuelan teenage lottery ticket in time for the 2009 season. He's coming around at AA despite being the youngest player on the Blue Wahoo roster.

Pensacola tied their game with a four-run rally in the fourth inning, but it was all Stars after that as the Wahoos lost at home by a score of 10-5. Tim Crabbe got the start and was lifted after four innings over which he was charged with runs off six hits. Loek Van Mil relieved him and allowed two runs off seven hits over three innings for the loss.

Offensively Yorman Rodriguez led the Wahoos with four hits including a triple and an RBI that capped off scoring in the four-run rally. Devin Lohman had three hits including a two-run single in the fourth. Tucker Barnhart added a couple of hits plus a walk and drove home the final run for the fish with a single in the ninth.

The offensive outburst raised Rodriguez's average to .278/.339 OB since his promotion to AA after hitting .251 at Bakersfield. Though only twenty years old, he's a five-year veteran of the minor leagues since Cincinnati signed him with a $2.5 million dollar bonus out of Venezuela at the age of sixteen. The young man has spent almost half his teens as an employee for the Reds and it appears that he's maturing before their eyes both physically and professionally.

Obviously big things were expected of him when the Reds set a record at the time for the signing bonus amount given to a Venezuelan prospect. He projected a strong all-around game with raw skills and sky high limit on potential. He's taken his lumps while advancing through the system too. His 2011 season ended prematurely from injury and he also left Bakersfield after starting the 2012 season there, but only to go back to Dayton after he struggled with a .156 average for the Blaze.

He's done well since that demotion and this year his departure from high-A was to a higher level. He will turn 21 next month which makes him the youngest player on the Pensacola roster and he'll probably remain there for a while and have his play determine where the Reds want to start him out next season. They also moved him back to center field earlier this season at Bakersfield, but Ryan LaMarre's presence probably was the reason he's been in right since the promotion.

Rodriguez is certainly not looking overwhelmed against older players at his new level like he did in the California League one year ago. Now in his fifth professional season it doesn't make sense to continue describing his skills as "raw" like the word that has commonly been used earlier in his career. It will be interesting to see how well he polishes his skills at the AA level over the remainder of the season. One problem with high profile foreign free agent signings is that they are often very young when the clock starts ticking on the amount of time over which the team retains control. The Reds have a $2.5 million investment and he's on their 40-man roster to protect against the Rule 5 draft. He's likely to remain there next season and the Reds have shown no reluctance to promote him whenever he shows just a hint of readiness.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds picked up another game on the Pirates with a 5-4 win at Great American Ball Park and they also gained a game on the Cardinals who lost to San Diego. After a rain delay they got things started immediately with four runs in the bottom of the first that was aided by an error and included a run-scoring hit by Brandon Phillips, sac fly from Zach Cozart, and RBI-double by Devin Mesoraco. Joey Votto added some insurance that would be needed when he drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth. Shin-soo Choo, Phillips, and Cozart had two hits apiece and each scored a run. Votto had a walk to go with a hit and finished with two RBI. Mat Latos got the win to improve his record to 9-3 by allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and four walks in five innings pitched. Five relievers combined for four innings, allowing one run, with Aroldis Chapman working out of a jam to preserve a one-run lead in the ninth and record his 23rd save.

Other News: Greg Reynolds has been announced to get the jump from Louisville to start for the Reds at San Francisco Tuesday.

For the second day in a row Louisville got a 2-1 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Louisville Slugger Field. They needed a tenth inning for Felix Perez to plate the game-winner with a double. Perez gave his team a brief lead earlier when he followed a Denis Phipps triple with a single. Perez, Mike Hessman, and Jason Donald each had two hits and Emmanuel Burriss reached with a single and a hit. Yohan Pino got no decision for allowing only one run on five hits and a walk in six innings while striking out five. Three Bats relievers combined for four scoreless innings with Jose Diaz picking up the win and Nick Christiani the save.

Bakersfield opened up a five-run lead after three innings and held on for a 6-3 home win over Lancaster. Juniors Arias and Silva opened up the first and scored on a groundout and sac fly. Kyle Waldrop opened up the next inning with a double and crossed the plate on another sac fly. Steve Selsky kept the offense rolling by leading off the third inning with a double that was followed by a hit from Ryan Wright and an RBI-single from Juan Duran. Duran and Waldrop had two hits apiece while Selsky reached from a hit plus a walk, and Wright a hit plus a hit batsman. Shane Dyer got the win for allowing two runs on seven hits in five innings while striking out six without a walk.

Dayton allowed three in the first en route to a 6-2 home loss to Wisconsin. Tanner Rahier had a couple of hits including a solo home run in the fifth. Seth Mejias-Brean also had two hits plus a walk with a solo homer in the eighth. Amir Garrett made his single-A debut and took the loss by allowing three runs on three hits in four innings pitched.

Billings opened up a five-run lead after four innings and won 7-4 over visiting Orem. Jon Matthews led the offense with three hits that included a home run to lead off the first inning. Jhimmy Lopez and Ronald Bueno had two hits apiece with Bueno raising his average to .333.

The AZL Reds and both Cincinnati Dominican affiliates had an off-day.

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