Wandy Rodriguez will start Saturday for Dominican Republic

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After getting four innings of one-run ball from Samuel Deduno against the United States last night the Dominican Republic will start Wandy Rodriguez tomorrow against the winner of tonight’s USA-Puerto Rico game.

Because the Dominican Republic has already secured a spot in the next round there was some thought that they’d save Rodriguez for the semi-finals, but manager Tony Pena explained why that won’t happen to Barry Bloom of MLB.com:

I sat down with William Castro, the pitching coach, and we determined to pitch Wandy Rodriguez tomorrow, because if we didn’t, he was going to pitch with too many days of rest. So we want to keep the order the way it is, because what you have to understand is that we are in training, and those young men, no matter how much we want to win, we still have to think of them. We have to pitch them on their regular days, so they are in optimal condition.

Not mentioned is whether the Pirates had a say in the matter considering Rodriguez is being paid $13 million to pitch for them this season.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.