BRADENTON, Fla. – Wandy Rodriguez was dominant in two starts for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
But as his team traveled to San Francisco for a chance to win the WBC title, Rodriguez returned to McKechnie Field to join his other team.
Rodriguez opted against joining the Dominican Republic in San Francisco – forgoing a chance to celebrate a big win for his country – because he wouldn’t be able to pitch in the event. Instead of watching, he joined the Pirates so he could be around his teammates, continue his spring program, work with the Pirates’ coaching staff, strength and conditioning staff and athletic trainers.
“I didn’t have a chance to pitch over there,” Rodriguez said. “Because of the situation, I said, ‘I don’t have a chance to pitch. I’ll go back to the Pirates.’”
In two starts for the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez allowed one earned run over 9 1/3 innings.
He said he appreciated the atmosphere because it was a chance to play in front of an enthusiastic crowd so early in the season. And the teams played with high energy, something notoriously missing from spring training games.
“I feel really strong,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the most important thing. I could put the ball wherever I want in the game. I had good location.”
The Pirates are off today – their last off day in Florida. The team has 43 players remaining in major league camp – 21 pitchers, 11 infielders, seven outfielders and four catchers.
Kyle McPherson will make the start for the Pirates on Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves. That is, if the weather cooperates. Supposed to be a couple of wet days here in the “Sunshine State.”
- Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Pirates
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