The Houston Astros did add experienced rotational depth today with the signing of Jake Odorizzi, but they will still need to look to their minor league arms for seasonal depth in the rotation and bullpen. On Saturday, Nivaldo Rodriguez hit the bump for the second time this spring, while striking out five batters in two innings of work.
The right-hander made his major league debut in 2020, while posting a 6.23 ERA through 8.2 innings of relief. Longevity is a lacking aspect of the Astros’ pitching system, but this quick turn around from Rodriguez points to needed help down the stretch.
How does Nivaldo Rodriguez fit in the Astros’ roster?
The 26-man roster looks to be pretty much set with the signing of Odorizzi, but the issues are within the 40-man. Depending on how long Framber Valdez is out, we don’t know if he is hitting the injured list, opening a spot for a non-roster invite or will he stay on the 40-man, putting another pitcher at risk of DFA or trade. In that case, Rodriguez shouldn’t be a pitcher to let go, after his hot start this spring. Against the New York Mets on Saturday, the 23-year-old struck out Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso in a row, which is a tough task for an unexperienced pitcher.
The confidence was heavily displayed today, as the Mets sent out possibly their Opening Day roster, but Rodriguez will most likely start at AAA. The right-hander never pitched past A+ before his major league debut, which displayed his struggles. If he gets the opportunity to progress against AA or AAA talent, he will be in the bullpen in the near future. Rodriguez will most likely start at the alternative training site at Constellation Field in Sugar Land until the start of the minor league season and hold a roster spot on double header days.
On the flip side, Zack Greinke made his spring training debut, and it looked rusty. The right-hander gave up two hits that led to one run in his only inning, while striking out one batter. Seth Martinez and Ryan Hartman also hit the bump; combining for four earned runs on six hits in the 6-1 loss to the Mets.
The Astros’ bats were quiet, as the only run came off a double from Freudis Nova that brought home Pedro Leon from first. The game was called in the sixth inning due to inclement weather conditions that had moved the game up to 12:05 p.m. from 5:05 p.m. They are back on the field in Jupiter on Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals at 12:05 p.m. with Kent Emanuel, Ryan Pressly and Brooks Raley scheduled to pitch.