The Houston Astros are adding Fernando Rodney and Andre Scrubb to their bullpen.
The Astros bullpen is being further depleted as reliever Joe Biagini is going on the Injured List with shoulder soreness, and rookie Andre Scrubb is being called up to take his spot. With veterans Ryan Pressly and Chris Devenski also dealing with nagging injuries, Houston is purchasing the contract of 43-year-old Fernando Rodney from the Sugar Land Skeeters.
Rodney is well known throughout the game as one of the most experienced and well-traveled relievers around. He’s pitched for 11 different teams in his 17 big league seasons, so the Astros would become his 12th team. He owns a career 3.80 ERA in 951 appearances with 327 saves.
The right-hander actually pitched against the Astros in the 2019 World Series, giving up two runs on two hits with six walks in two innings of work. Those numbers aside, he was respectable with the Nationals last year, pitching to a 4.05 ERA and 1.350 WHIP in 38 regular season appearances after a rough first part of the season with Oakland.
He still averaged 94.4 mph on his four-seamer and 93.6 mph on his sinker in 2019 despite his age. His walk rate wasn’t good last year but he still had a strong strikeout rate and managed to limit hits and home runs to a manageable level with the Nats. If he can come close to that, he’ll be useful.
Beyond that, having a seasoned veteran on the roster would be a nice addition given the presence of a litany of young pitchers. Rodney has seen the highs and lows of a lengthy major league career and could serve as a valuable mentor to these young relievers the team is employing.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Scrubb’s addition to the roster now gives the team a total of nine rookies on their pitching staff. With Pressly and Devenski ailing, closer Roberto Osuna is the only healthy reliever they have with more than one year of major league service time. This is seemingly unprecedented.
Scrubb came to Houston from the Dodgers in the Tyler White trade last July, so if he makes an appearance in this series, he’ll make his major league debut against his former club. He worked to a combined 2.78 ERA at the Double-A level in 2019, pitching almost exclusively in relief. He worked 1.2 innings in the July 21 exhibition game in Kansas City, allowing one run and striking out five.
With Scrubb being called up, it looks like Rodney isn’t being added to the active roster just yet. He’ll likely have to undergo a physical and some COVID-19 tests before he can be activated, so it could be a few days before we see him. The team also might send him to Corpus Christi for a bit if they feel he needs more time to get ready to face major league pitching.