Joely Rodriguez lost his 40-man roster spot in the winter after a terrible season in 2015, but he turned things around last year. The Phillies made an adjustment to his arm slot and how his foot lands when he finishes his delivery and both moves seem to have paid off. He was a combined 7-0 with a 2.35 ERA and a 69:23 K:BB in 76.2 innings between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season while holding left-handed batters to under a .200 batting average against. He was promoted to the majors in September and was solid over 12 appearances with a 2.79 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Rodriguez, who works in the mid-90s with his fastball, has a chance to settle in as a dominant lefty killer. The Phillies will have him compete for a bullpen spot this spring.
Rodriguez (1-0) picked up his first career win Sunday after facing two batters and retiring both (with one strikeout) in a 5-2 victory over the Braves. Rodriguez has a 5.73 ERA after allowing seven runs over his first four games, but he's settled in, holding the opposition scoreless in his last five appearances. He has seen most of his work in the sixth and seventh innings, but Rodriguez will occasionally be asked to work the eighth inning, which was the case Sunday.
Rodriguez has earned a bullpen spot on the Opening Day roster, Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal reports. Rodriguez had been in competition for one of the final roster spots, and will ultimately make the team as a lefty specialist in middle relief.
Rodriguez has a shot at earning a bullpen spot with the Phillies this spring, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Rodriguez got a taste of the majors last season, allowing three runs on eight hits over 9.2 innings while striking out seven and walking four. His 95.3 mph fastball gives him the potential to be a dominant lefty killer in the majors if he can command his pitches. The southpaw held lefties under a .200 batting average in the minors last season, but he didn't have quite the same level of success in his limited time in the majors. Rodriguez is competing with Cesar Ramos, Sean Burnett and possibly Adam Morgan for one of the two lefty reliever spots manager Pete Mackanin wants to have on his roster.
Manager Pete Mackanin said Rodriguez, Hector Neris, Edubray Ramos and Michael Mariot are in the mix for save chances with Jeanmar Gomez temporarily out of the closer's role, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports. Mackanin said he wants to give Gomez a break for the next couple of save chances. Rodriguez would likely only be used in a save chance if the Phillies are scheduled to face left-handed hitters in the ninth inning.
Rodriguez's contract was selected from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Saturday. The 24-year-old southpaw posted an impressive 2.35 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while fanning 69 over 76.2 innings between three levels of the minors this year. He will work in lower leverage spots over the final three weeks of the season and could earn a permanent spot in the big league bullpen in 2017.
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