Rodriguez Goes 5-5

Henry Rodriguez entered this season considered one of the more MLB-ready hitters in the Cincinnati system. He started off his second AAA season, but he coming around offensively now and working toward another expansion call-up.

Louisville tied their game in the seventh, fell behind the next frame, tied it again in the bottom of that inning and won 7-6 over visiting Syracuse in ten. Henry Rodriguez was a frequent flyer on the base-paths, going 5-5 with three runs. He scored his team's first run on an RBI single by Matt Kennelly in the second. In the fourth the Bats cut into a four-run deficit with a two-run homer by Neftali Soto. Kenelly and Josh Fellhauer then led off the seventh with singles and scored on a bunt hit/error by Billy Hamilton and a groundout. Fellhauer singled another run home in the eight and Kenelly drove home Rodriguez with the game-winner with a walk-off single.

Soto and Kenelly added three hits apiece to the attack while Jason Donald and Fellhauer provided two each. Chad Reineke had a short start, allowing five runs on eleven hits in three-plus innings. Kevin Whelan tossed a couple scoreless innings of relief before Pedro Diaz shut out the Chiefs for the final two frames for the win.

Rodriguez entered this season a consensus top-twenty prospect in the Cincinnati organization with a reputation as one of the more MLB-ready bats in their farm system. He'd hit well at every stop since playing in the Venezuelan League as a seventeen-year old in 2007, but still needed to work on selectivity at the plate to improve his on-base percentage. He started off slower than expected in his second AAA season this year, but he's on a 15-31 (.484) tear over the last eight games and his outburst Friday lifted his overall average this season to .256. His AVG/OB differential is still low and his on-base is still below .300 on the season. Even though his walk percentage is still below 5% of his plate appearances, there has been an improvement over the frequency he had during his first AAA experience after a promotion from Pensacola before the second half of last year.

He's still bouncing around defensively and split all of his time in the field this season between second and third base. During that time he had a second cup of coffee with the Reds this year and will likely get strong consideration for another one after roster expansion. His best chance for long-term MLB service is as a utility middle infielder and there are some concerns about his ability to handle shortstop.

More performances like he had Friday will lessen those concerns and he's only made three errors in 47 games at second thus far this season. That fielding percentage drops off during his time at the hot corner, but he can keep it at a level that would be satisfactory for a backup player, especially if he's contributing offensively from the bench. Baseball is a competitive game and you never know when one ill-timed error can cost a game. On the other hand, it often takes only one clutch hit to win one. Rodriguez has always controlled his bat well enough to maintain good contact, now he just needs to learn when to keep it on his shoulder longer and work counts for pitches that he can drive better. 33 year-old Cesar Izturis has maintained ownership of the Reds utlityman position all season after coming over as a minor league free agent and Jack Hannhan is in the first year of a multi-year free agent contract. A strong finish by Rodriguez this year will get him another trip to the Reds and put his name squarely in the conversation for more MLB backup duty next season.

Other Organizatoinal News:

After completing their west coast trip the Reds got off on the wrong foot in their much anticipated home series against the Cardinals. St. Louis jumped on them with four runs in the first inning and Cincinnati never really threatened in a 13-3 loss. Joey Votto went 2-3 with two walks and plated their only runs with a three-run homer. Starter Broson Arroyo was lifted in the fourth and charged with seven runs on eight hits for the loss.

Pensacola's offensive eruption provided a 16-8 win at Birmingham. Devin Lohman led the way with three hits including a two-run home run, drove in four, and scored three twice. Donald Lutz had a couple of hits including a three-run homer that was part of a five-run third inning when the Wahoos took the lead for a first time. Ray Chang also had three hits and Mike Costanzo reached with two hits and two walks. Yorman Rodriguez and Ryan LaMarre both stroked a single and double apiece. Jon Moscot was roughed up in his first AA start and allowed seven runs over three innings. Chris Manno relieved him with three scoreless frames for the win.

Bakersfield fell behind early and never really challenged in a 15-6 loss to visiting San Jose. David Vidal was the only Blaze hitter with two hits. Yovan Gonzalez hit a solo homer in the fifth inning and Juan Duran knocked a grand slam in the eighth. Fabian Williamson's Blaze debut was a tough one and he took the loss for allowing eight runs in two-plus innings. After pitching one game in Arizona after he was drafted Michael Lorenzen debuted at high-A with a scoreless inning and has not allowed an earned run in eleven appearances since turning pro.

Dayton allowed two runs in the sixth inning in their 3-2 loss at Bowling Green. Beau Amaral did his job leading off and finished with three hits and two RBI while Jesse Winker added a couple of singles. Sal Romano got no decision for allowing one run on six hits/three walks over the first five innings. Wandy Peralta allowed two runs when he tossed the sixth inning which cost him the loss. Alejandro Chacin finished with two scoreless frames to drop his ERA below three on the season.

Billings made up for a rainout by getting swept in a doubleheader at Great Falls by scores of 5-3 and 6-2. The Mustangs mustered only four hits in the first game with Jon Matthews reaching via a double plus a walk and scoring a run. Junior Morillo made his Pioneer League debut and got no decision for allowing two runs over the first three innings. Fabian Roman was charged with three runs without recording an out for the loss. Zach Weiss finished the game by tossing three no-hit innings and allowing only one walk with three strikeouts.

In the second contest Billings allowed four runs in the sixth inning for the loss. Again the offense combined for only four hits with Matthews reaching from a single and two walks and Ronald Bueno getting two hits and scoring twice. Ben Lively allowed only one run on three hits over the first three innings, but that was enough to pin the loss on him.

Two runs in the sixth inning were not enough for a comeback in the AZL Reds' 3-2 loss to the AZL Padres. Kevin Garcia had two more hits plus a walk for the Reds to raise his average to .383. Logan Uxa contributed a two-run homer in the sixth. Manuel Aybar took the loss for allowing two runs (one earned) off three hits/three walks in four-plus inning with four strikeouts.

The DSL Reds lost 3-2 to the DSL White Sox. Raynar Guerrero had two of the six Reds hits. Pedro Damian didn't have a bad start, allowing two hits/three walks over five innings with five strikeouts, but two runs (one earned) cost him the loss. Damian Taveras closed the game with four innings of relief and allowed only one unearned run.

The DSL Rojos allowed five runs in the first inning and were walloped in an 18-8 loss to the DSL Nationals. Luis Gonzalez, Carlos Mateo, Daniel Jimenez, and Jose Monegro each had two hits for the Rojos. The also got a two-run home run from Monegro and a solo homer by Luis Hernandez. Starter Jean Lara was battered for five runs (four earned) and lifted without recording an out for the loss.

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