If you remember that line from your junior high school Spanish class, you are old. But if you remember it from Dodger Stadium, you probably heard it in jest regarding arguably the best Dodger pitcher to come along since Clayton Kershaw.
I am, of course, speaking of Dodger left-handed reliever Steven “Paco” Rodriguez, the first player drafted in 2012 to make it to the Big leagues; and barring the unforeseen, Rodriguez is most likely here to stay.
Why, you ask?
Well, since making his major league debut with the Dodgers on September 9, 2012, the Miami native (who will turn 22 years old on April 16th) has been nothing short of outstanding. In his 11 appearances in September and October of 2012, Paco allowed 1 run, 1 hit, 4 walks and 6 strikeouts in a total of 6.2 innings for an excellent ERA of 1.35.
And if you think those numbers are impressive, Rodriguez has already appeared in 3 of the 5 games that the Dodgers have played thus far in 2013 and has retired all five batters he has faced – including Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who he struck out on three pitches on Friday night and on six pitches on Saturday night.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that Mattingly plans to use Rodriguez exclusively as a LOOGY (Left-handed One Out Guy), Paco pitched as much as two full innings of relief last season. However, unlike last season, the Dodgers now have former starter-turned-reliever Chris Capuano in the bullpen and he would most likely be the long reliever over Rodriguez – unless, of course, Capuano is traded.
There are some who believe that Paco will be sent back down to the minor leagues when left-hander Scott Elbert is eventually healthy enough to return to the Dodger bullpen after undergoing not one but two elbow surgeries this past off-season. But to be quite honest, unless Rodriguez suddenly falters, there is no reason in the world to believe that the lefty with the unorthodox delivery is going anywhere, even if Elbert manages to work his way back.
In the meantime, just sit back and enjoy watching Paco Rodriguez continue to confuse opposing batters while racking up the strikeouts.
¡Muchos gracias, Paco!