The Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays matched up on Saturday in a meaningless battle of small market teams in Spring Training. While the score is, indeed, meaningless, some factors are important. For instance, in Saturday’s game, Pirates lefty Wandy Rodriguez made his first game appearance since his injury in the early part of last season.
Rodriguez pitched just 62.2 innings in 2013 for the Pirates with a 3.59 ERA. He struggled to record strikeouts, with just 6.61 K/9, but he also limited walks with a remarkable 1.72 BB/9. The Pirates’ rotation would take a significant hit when Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list with tightness in his left forearm, and he would wind up missing the rest of the 2013 season. Rodriguez’s absence led to the inevitable Gerrit Cole call-up to happen sooner than the Pirates would have liked, but it all worked out in the end, as Cole would make huge strides in his development throughout the year.
In his first game back, Rodriguez pitched just one inning, but it was a good inning. The lefty recorded two punch-outs and didn’t allow a hit or a walk. He did, however, allow an unearned run. Keep in mind, though, they are called unearned runs for a reason. If his defense didn’t hurt him, Rodriguez would have had a perfect inning.
As for the game itself, the Pirates and Rays went to extra innings before ending in a 2-2 tie after the 10th inning. Russell Martin homered for the Pirates and Cameron Seitzer went yard for the Rays.