UH glad to have Rodrigues back
Rodrigues is immediately placed in the starting rotation when the NCAA gives him another year
Mike Trapasso thought he had to change up his rotation because Mark Rodrigues would be unavailable. But now Rodrigues' changeup -- as well as his fastball and slider -- has the Hawaii baseball coach more optimistic going into this weekend's season-opening series.
The Rainbows host Santa Clara at Les Murakami Stadium
with single games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Rodrigues, a senior lefty, was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA yesterday.
UH had petitioned for an additional season because Rodrigues missed all of 2004 and 2005 recovering from elbow surgery.
Trapasso immediately told Rodrigues he will start Saturday. Ian Harrington, another senior left-hander, starts the opener on Friday. Sunday's is to be announced, with one of two juniors - righty Joshua Schneider or lefty Nicholas Rhodes - likely to get the nod, Trapasso said.
"(Rodrigues' clearance) couldn't have come at a better time," said Trapasso, who had been trying to plan for this weekend without Rodrigues.
Rodrigues spent last summer playing for the Eau Claire (Wisc.) Express, developing a changeup to go with his low-90s fastball and slider.
"When you're talking about a lefty with a good changeup, you're usually talking about a successful pitcher. He was also working on his slider in the fall. We'll see how he is when he throws bullpen mid-week," Trapasso said.
"Getting a guy like that will keep your bullpen deeper, which is real important for the early part of the season. The starters will only be going 75 or 80 pitches, so you'll without question be going to the bullpen by the seventh or eighth inning," Trapasso added. "I'm obviously happy for Mark and our team. I'm also thankful to (UH compliance officer) Bill Bryant for the work in getting this done before the season."
Rodrigues' return allows right-handers Matt Daly and Tyler Davis to come out of the bullpen - a situation that contributed to the Rainbows' success last year.
Newcomer Derek Tarapacki will also add to UH's bullpen depth. Tarapacki, who has been cleared to practice but not pitch in games yet, was impressive in a Monday scrimmage, Trapasso said.
Rodrigues pitched in 15 games, starting 12 for UH last year. He went 4-2 with a 4.66 ERA in 58 innings, striking out 28 and walking 18.
He could not work out with the team while awaiting the NCAA's decision, but Rodrigues apparently used his time well.
"I was kind of doing things on the side, trying to stay on task," said Rodrigues, a Kauai High School and Los Medanos (Pittsburg, Calif.) College graduate who transferred to UH before the 2004 season.
Rodrigues has been drafted two times,* and his performance last year as well as in fall practice helped earn him a spot in UH's rotation this spring.
"I feel like I'm back to where I was before I hurt my arm," Rodrigues said. "If anything, better. Summer ball helped a lot."
Thursday, January 25, 2007
» University of Hawaii pitcher Mark Rodrigues was drafted twice, in 2001 in the 29th round by Montreal and in 2002 in the 37th round by Oakland. A story and caption on Page B6 yesterday said he was drafted three times.