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Rodriguez returns to camp after brief stint in bigs

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres catcher Eddy Rodriguez has nine days of Major League service time, all coming last season, when he earned a brief mid-season promotion.

They might as well rate as nine of the best days of his life.

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Rodriguez, 27, played his first professional season in the Reds' system in 2006, played two seasons with an independent league team and then signed with the Padres before the '11 season. He was catching with Class A Lake Elsinore on July 31, when he got the call to San Diego.

Rodriguez appeared in two games and hit a home run against his old organization on Aug. 2 on the first pitch he saw from Reds starter Johnny Cueto. In doing so, he became the second Padres player to hit a home run in his first at-bat. Pitcher Dave Eiland also did so in 1992.

Six days later, Rodriguez returned to the Minor Leagues and Nick Hundley was recalled.

"To me, it was a big surprise. It was almost the culmination of all the hard work, all the sacrifices that we put in in the Minor Leagues and independent leagues," Rodriguez said. "Hitting the home run was icing on the cake."

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