LINCOLN — The Saltdogs have added an accomplished end-game reliever and minor league veteran, signing former Padres and Pirates farmhand RHP R.J. Rodriguez to a contract Friday.
Rodriguez boasts a career 3.52 ERA with 104 saves in 358 games pitched over his seven-year career. He has struck out 354 in 396 1/3 innings pitched, and has posted an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.48.
The Miami native went 3-4 with a svelte 2.35 ERA and 14 saves in 66 games last year for York (Atlantic League) and Campeche (Triple-A Mexican League). In 2010 and 2011, Rodriguez helped lead York to consecutive Atlantic League championships.
Rodriguez was originally signed by the San Diego Padres in 2006 out of Bethune-Cookman College (Daytona Beach, Fla.), starring as a closer at various minor-league stops with the Fryars before joining the Pirates organization for the 2009 season.
For Lynchburg (Advanced-A, Carolina League) in the Bucs organization in 2009, Rodriguez went 6-3 with a 3.08 ERA while nailing down a career-high 27 saves.
The 28-year old will make his American Association debut in 2013, where he is primed for success after proving very difficult to hit in the veteran-laden Atlantic League over the last three campaigns.
Rodriguez has reached the double-digit mark in saves in six of his seven professional seasons.
The Saltdogs open up the 2013 season on May 16 at Gary. Their home opener is May 23 against the defending champion Winnipeg Goldeyes! Get your season ticket package now for as low as $115 at www.saltdogs.com or by calling 402-474-2255. Also, take advantage of the Saltdogs March Madness T-Shirt Sale and get two select t-shirts for $20!