Pheasants alum Rodriguez gets the call
UPDATE Aug. 2 -- Rodriguez made his major-league debut on Aug. 2 and homered in his first at-bat. He is just the 112th man to do so.
SIOUX FALLS – Former Sioux Falls Pheasants player Eddy Rodriguez has finally realized a dream.
The Birds’ 2010 catcher was called up to the San Diego Padres’ big league club from their high-A affiliate in California, the Lake Elsinore Storm. He will report to the Padres today who are in Cincinnati.
This year Rodriguez hit .223 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI in 87 games with the Storm. Rodriguez has prior experience with both the Padres’ Double-A and Triple-A clubs and was a non-roster invitee with the Padres this past spring training.
“We as an organization are very proud of Eddy,” said Pheasants manager Steve Shirley, who skippered Rodriguez in 2010. “It is one of our goals to help players achieve their career goals, and we’re pleased have a part in it in some small way.”
When Rodriguez was invited to spring training this year, he credited his year in Sioux Falls as vital to his development. “Playing for Steve Shirley was one of the best things for my career,” he said. “He gave me an opportunity to be in the lineup every day.”
“Eddy is a tremendous baseball player and a tremendous person,” said Shirley. “We couldn’t be happier for him.”
Just two years ago, Rodriguez was a vital piece of the Pheasants’ dominant 2010 season that culminated in a trip to the American Association championship series. He batted .259 with 13 home runs and 55 RBI in 80 games. Behind the plate, he threw out 24 attempted base stealers and received for a pitching staff with the second-best ERA in the league.
Rodriguez was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 20th round of the 2006 draft after a standout career at the University of Miami. He climbed the Reds’ ranks to Double-A Chattanooga before his release in 2008. He then turned to independent baseball. Rodriguez joined the Pheasants in 2010 after proving himself as a premiere catcher in the American Association with the El Paso Diablos in 2009.
The Padres purchased Rodriguez’ contract soon after the 2010 season finished. He spent all of 2011 in their minor-league system, playing at every level. He helped win championships for both the high Class A Lake Elsinore Storm and Class AA San Antonio Missions.
Rodriguez is the only former Canaries/Pheasants player active at the major league level, and he is the seventh player (and first position player) to reach the major leagues after playing in Sioux Falls.
The Sioux Falls Pheasants are playing their 20th season independent professional baseball. Information about season tickets and group outings is available by calling (605) 336-6060 or visiting www.sfpheasants.com.