PEORIA, Ariz. -- Signed by San Diego in 2011 after two independent league seasons, catcher Eddy Rodriguez broke into the big leagues for a short, but sweet nine days last year after Yasmani Grandal went on the disabled list. Now back alongside Major Leaguers as a non-roster invitee in camp, Rodriguez is showing what kind of value he brings to the organization, even though he will all but certainly begin the season in the Minors.
"Where Eddy is in his career, he gives us a lot of protection at where he is," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's a good fundamentally sound catcher, he can throw and he's got a great attitude. He understands the pitcher-catcher relationship and you need guys like Eddy. He still has a desire to be a Major League player."
The 27-year-old Rodriguez was catching with Class A Lake Elsinore on July 31 when he got the call to San Diego. In his first Major League at-bat, he smacked a home run off Reds ace Johnny Cueto, becoming the second Padres player to hit a homer in his first at-bat. Pitcher Dave Eiland also did so in 1992.
"You don't see that often," said Black about Rodriguez being promoted from Class A. "It takes a player with a lot of self-confidence to not be bothered at being in A ball at 27. We know wherever Eddy is, if something happens, he can come to the big leagues and handle himself."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.