While the rest of his Pittsburgh Pirates teammates will be down in Lee County taking on the Minnesota Twins, Wandy Rodriguez will be taking the mound in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday. The Dominican left-hander will take on Puerto Rico to see which team wins Pool 2.
At first glance this game may not seem like that big of a deal since both teams will be moving on to the semi-finals, but a closer look will reveal that a win could be big for a couple of reasons. First the team that wins will get an extra day of rest and that could be important after taking a cross country flight from Miami to San Francisco. Second the team that loses has to face two time defending champion Japan in the semi-finals while the winner gets a slightly less scary Netherlands squad.
This will be Rodriguez’s second crack at Puerto Rico in this WBC. He pitched against them six days ago and held them to one run over 3 1/3 innings pitched while striking out two and walking one.
It will be a good test to see just how ready Rodriguez is for the season. He has pitched both times he has taken the mound for the Pirates this spring. If A.J. Burnett doesn’t turn his dreadful spring around pretty soon the Pirates will likely trot Rodriguez out on opening day. Not bad for a guy that has a record that is three games below .500 for his eight year MLB career.