Astros ace Wandy Rodriguez gave up four runs — two earned — and walked five in 3 2/3 innings Thursday in a loss to the Mets. And this is what passes for one of his better spring outings.
The loss left Rodriguez 1-2 with an 8.10 ERA in three starts this spring. Since 2006, the left-hander is 4-17 with a 7.44 ERA during Grapefruit League action. He’s allowed 96 runs — 86 earned — in 104 innings. During that same timeframe, he’s 63-65 with a 3.89 ERA in the regular season.
What makes it especially odd is that Rodriguez turns it on the moment the regular season starts. April is actually his best month, as he has a 3.17 ERA in 28 career starts. His next best ERA in any month is a 3.81 mark in July.
So, next time Wandy says he’s just working on a pitch after one of his poor spring outings, one should probably take him at his word. It’s not at all unusual for pitchers to post lousy spring ERAs and then get it going once the opening bell rings, but no one does it quite as consistently as Rodriguez.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.