Looking to improve their depth in left-handed starting pitching, the Braves signed left-hander Daniel Rodriguez out of the Mexican League. The 27-year-old sinkerballer has led the Mexican League in strikeouts each of the past three seasons.
The Braves purchased his contract from the Saltillo Saraperos last Saturday, signing him to a minor league deal, which they finalized Friday when he traveled to Turner Field for a physical and a bullpen session.
“We’ve seen the value of (left-handing pitching) just watching (Paul) Maholm and what he can do to other clubs,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said.
“We have not had an opportunity to have a lot of left-handers in our rotation in recent years, and so he was a guy that stood out for us and our scouts internationally and also statistically.”
Rodriguez went 11-5 with a 2.54 ERA in 20 starts in the Mexican League this summer. He had 135 strikeouts and 46 walks in 117 innings. Wren said he throws a fastball in the 89-92 mph range, with a good change-up, and his strikeout pitch is his curveball.
Once Rodriguez secures his work visa in Mexico, he’ll report to Triple-A Gwinnett to pitch for the remainder of the season.
“We see him as a guy that would somewhat similar to (first-round pick Sean) Gilmartin in that he’d be a guy that would likely be in the Gwinnett rotation to start the season next year,” Wren said. “And who knows after that.”