Rodriguez, the veteran closer signed to a minor league contract last week after he was released by the Tigers, officially joined the roster at Harrisburg. That was a bit of a surprise, considering he was expected to pitch for Triple-A Syracuse.
The Nationals, though, aren’t so much worried about the level of competition Rodriguez faces as much as they are getting him to throw strikes and record outs as the club tries to determine if it’s worth taking a shot at him in the big league bullpen.
Rodriguez pitched the ninth inning for Harrisburg, entering with a 7-2 lead. He faced five batters, issuing a leadoff walk, striking out the following batter and then inducing a ground ball that should’ve resulted in at least one out, but the play fell apart when shortstop Osvaldo Abreu committed an error.
That set the stage for an unearned run to score on a sacrifice fly before Rodriguez coaxed a popup from the final batter he faced, closing out a 7-3 victory over Akron.
Rodriguez wound up throwing 26 pitches, 12 of them for strikes.