Sean Rodriguez impresses the boss

Perhaps no player better embodies the Angels’ remarkable organizational depth and versatility than Sean Rodriguez, who is emerging as their new Chone Figgins with his ability to play capably all over the field.

“From the perspective of being an everyday player, he’s opened up a new dimension being able to play the outfield every day,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on Wednesday as Rodriguez was back with Triple-A Salt Lake following two superb games in left field in Minnesota over the weekend. “He’s got enough thunder in his bat to play corner outfield. He can play second base every day, shortstop, third base. He’s a baseball player, a terrific athlete.

“The way he handled himself on the defensive end [at the Metrodome] is a plus. We’ve seen glimpses of the power he has. He’s putting it together.”

The Angels elected to return Rodriguez to Salt Lake and keep Reggie Willits on the 25-man roster because of Willits’ ability to do multiple things late in games — pinch run, get a bunt down, hit-and-run — and his superior experience in center field, where he’ll support Gary Matthews Jr. in Torii Hunter’s absence.

Rodriguez, a natural center fielder who played there at G. Holmes Braddock High School in Miami, transformed himself into a quality middle infielder after signing with the Angels in 2003 as a third-round choice in the First-Year Player Draft.

Developing his infield skills while hitting with power as he climbed the organizational ladder, Rodriguez returned to the outfield, playing all three positions along with the infield, to enhance his appeal as an all-purpose talent. It helped Figgins carve out his career, and now, having settled in full-time in one role, he’s one of the game’s elite third basemen.

Summoned to the big club from Triple-A Salt Lake, where he’s been pounding Pacific Coast League pitching all season, all Rodriguez did in two starts in Minnesota was lash a pair of singles and make two excellent defensive plays in his first start in left field, then bang a homer over the center field wall the following day.

Arriving in Chicago, Rodriguez learned that he was heading back to Salt Lake to make room for Vladimir Guerrero, coming off the disabled list after recovering from a muscle strain behind his left knee.

“It was fun while it lasted,” Rodriguez said. He couldn’t hide his disappointment, just as Brandon Wood and Bobby Wilson days before him.

Scioscia raved about the impression made by the 24-year-old Rodriguez last season at second base during a lengthy stretch in May with Howard Kendrick and Maicer Izturis both injured.

“This guy can play the game,” Scioscia said.

Rodriguez is batting .290 at Salt Lake with 23 homers and 79 RBIs in 81 games. Wood is batting .316 in the PCL with 17 homers and 55 RBIs in 74 games, while Terry Evans checks in at .290 with 22 homers, 76 RBIs in 105 games. Rodriguez has a narrow edge over Wood in slugging, .603 to .597, with Evans at .526.

 

4 Comments

too bad they sent him back so quickly.. shoulda kept him around a week and sent Vlad down to get his swing back

Vlad is just killing em.

ground balls; double plays. He’s just killing em.

My gawd what a terrible mistake to not send him out for a week . . . and then to bring him back hitting 7th..

There are times when Mike S’s loyalty and love for players just drives me nuts. I suppose his players love him back. But this is just absurd. They have effectively stopped the most potent lineup in the league, dead in it’s tracks.

Dredleelam, I couldn’t agree with you more. There should have been a rehab assignment for Vlad as hitting in BP and in hitting against live pitching are two very different things. It is sad to see Vlad so broken down and even harder to watch while opposing teams are pitching around others to get to Vlad. I understand what he has meant to the team in the past, but the team needs look out for itself. There seems to be a common denominator to our sudden lack of offence in Chicago–Vlad. Hopefully Rodriguez and Wood will return to the team and be able to contribute to the pennant run. They, afterall, are going to be next in line when Kendrick finally leaves and Figgy chooses not to return (we hope not).

I believe that Vladdy would have to agree to a rehab assignment for the Angels to be able to send him to the minor leagues because of his time in the majors. Maybe Vladdy wouldn’t agree to it. But at least today he hit a home-run. Hopefully he will get things going! Go Angels!

If Scosia was so impressed why does’nt he bring him up so he can help. Get rid of Quinlin and Willits to make room for him.

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