Italy-u: Rodriguez heading overseas
Word broke late last week that former Revs’ infielder Liu Rodriguez will be taking his talents overseas. In particular, the baseball veteran will apparently be playing somewhere in Italy, according to Revs’ media guru Paul Braverman.
The move brings an end to the Venezuela native playing in York, where he has spent the last three seasons, plus 24 games in 2009. Rodriguez, 36, batted a collective .285 for the Revs since 2009. His best season came in 2010 when he batted .296 with three homers, 57 RBIs and 71 runs in 121 games en route to helping the Revs win their first Atlantic League title.
Rodriguez, who reached the majors with the White Sox in 1999, transitioned into a player-coach role with the Revs last year (check out a feature story about that experience here), but still held an impressive .329 average in just 64 games.
“As a player-coach I’m more relaxed,” Rodriguez had said of the experience. “I’m trying to help my teammates, either in the batting cage or on the field. That’s made me more relaxed and I can see the results.”
Rodriguez’s best coaching work probably came with Revs’ second baseman Andres Perez, who came over to York last season and played the infield everyday for the first time since high school.
“(Rodriguez) has really helped Perez at second base, especially with his throwing,” former Revs’ manager Andy Etchebarren had said. “His throwing is so much improved and that’s because Liu has been taking him out and helping him.”
As we all know, Perez ended making first-team all-Atlantic League in 2012 as well as being selected to Baseball America’s all-independent team along with slugger Chris Nowak.
Rodriguez should expect to see a similar amount of playing time in Italy, where there are usually about two games a week on average. Former Revs’ outfielder Bryant Nelson once played in Italy before coming to York in 2011 and spoke highly of the experience, although he noted frustrations with not playing everyday. Still, for a player like Rodriguez it’ll be just another way to extend his playing career without taking a major toll on his body.
On a side note, Revs’ play-by-play man Darrell Henry is hearing that former Revs’ third baseman Ramon Castro might end up playing in Italy as well. While we’re on this topic, a source told me last week that the Somerset Patriots might be interested in Castro’s services, too. Castro, if you remember, got booted off the team by Etch’ last season. Revs’ manager Mark Mason said last week Castro will not be coming back to York, although Castro did inquire through third base coach Enohel Polanco to see if the Revs were interested in his services. Andy Marte will be holding down third base duties for the Revs this year.