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Rookie Pitcher Could Be the Blue Jays Fifth Starter

Rookie pitcher Yariel Rodríguez looks like he could very well be the fifth starter for the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s made two strong starts as a starter. He pitched well in his MLB debut against the Colorado Rockies. Then against the San Diego Padres on Friday evening, he dominated the opposition once again. Since he didn’t pitch into the fifth inning in both starts, he didn’t receive the win, but his strong presence on the mound hasn’t gone unnoticed. Manager John Schneider commented that Rodriguez is a versatile player in that he is strong as a starter but could also be used in the bullpen if needed. But with his first two strong starts, he looks like he could very well be the Blue Jays’ fifth starter in the rotation.

Yariel Rodríguez Could End Up as Blue Jays Fifth Starter

The rookie Rodríguez struck out six and allowed one run on four hits over 3 2/3 innings in his MLB debut. Against the Padres, Rodríguez recorded seven strikeouts, giving up three hits and one earned run. His current ERA is 2.35, and aside from his promising numbers as a rookie, he continues to demonstrate hustle, drive, energy, and confidence. These qualities were most present in his second start. When Daulton Varsho made an amazing catch in the outfield, Rodríguez was ecstatic and raised his arms in the air. He also showcased urgency and energy when he continued to strike out batters after walking off the mound.

Rodríguez certainly deserves to be the Blue Jays’ fifth starter based on his two strong starts. With Bowden Francis struggling a bit as a starter this season, it was significant that the Blue Jays signed Rodríguez in the offseason. With Alek Manoah struggling as well, having Rodríguez as a fifth starter would be helpful. The Blue Jays have a strong starting rotation, and if Rodríguez can continue to pitch well, it will make that part of the team even more dazzling. The downside is that he’s on a strict pitch limit for each start since he didn’t pitch last year besides the World Baseball Classic, so they must build up his innings carefully.

Rodríguez Has Found His Home

The Blue Jays have certainly gained a gem with Rodríguez. He has great stuff and really lessens the blow of Manoah’s struggles. Rodríguez pitched for Team Cuba in the 2023 WBC, which hyped him up before he arrived in Toronto. His days in Japan also provided him with valuable pre-MLB experience. It will be great when Rodríguez can eventually pitch deeper into games. If he does become the Blue Jays’ fifth starter, it will be huge for his career. Rodríguez is looking strong early on, and he is fitting in nicely so far for the Blue Jays. In his brief tenure, he is already a distinctive footnote in franchise history. The 27-year-old is the first Cuban-born pitcher to start a game for Toronto since their establishment in 1977.


Photo Credit: © Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports


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