Rodriguez has had a solid spring.
With the Oakland A's bullpen suddenly populating the trainer's room in large numbers, who else might wind up on the Opening Day roster if Joey Devine and perhaps some of the other relievers aren't ready by early April?
Andrew Bailey, the team's closer, was shut down for up to a week because of tennis elbow, and while he believes he'll be OK for Opening Day, the condition certainly throws some doubt on that. Lefty Craig Breslow was told not to throw for several days because of elbow soreness, and right-hander Michael Wuertz has yet to throw in a Cactus League game as the team brings him along slowly after 74 appearances last year.
Joey Devine, who missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, also has yet to throw in a Cactus League game because of tendinitis. He looks highly unlikely for Opening Day and might be looking at more the middle to end of April.
The veteran right-hander Jason Jennings, signed after camp had opened, appears to be a good bet for the bullpen -- or possibly even a spot start if Justin Duchscherer can't go, though Duchscherer believes he'll be ready. Jennings is being stretched out to start, but he also has experience in relief and he could well be a middle-innings guy for Oakland.
Fireballer Henry Rodriguez impressed in a brief call-up in September and is throwing in triple digits again. He's a near-lock at this point if the A's have an injury -- and even if there isn't, he's going to be a pretty tempting possibility.
Lefty Brad Kilby did well last September and might have had the upper hand for a spot with a strong spring, but he allowed three homers in his first five innings and has a 10.80 ERA. Others challenging for a spot include left-handers Jerry Blevins and Lenny DiNardo -- although both have struggled in camp -- and right-handers Marcus McBeth and Fernando Hernandez. McBeth and Hernandez both returned to the A's organization this off-season as minor league free agents and both are non-roster invitees to camp, which could hamper their chances to make the Opening Day roster some.
Oakland A's Notes
--RHP Justin Duchscherer threw in a minor league game on March 17 and was likely to make his Cactus League debut on March 22 against the Mariners. Duchscherer believes he will be ready to be in Oakland's rotation the first week of the season. He missed last year with a minor elbow injury and clinical depression, and a lower back problem slowed him at the start of the spring.
--OF Coco Crisp was scheduled to return to Cactus League play Saturday or Sunday after missing a week because of a hamstring strain. Crisp had been limited to DH'ing before he injured his hamstring because he had surgery on both shoulders last year, but the team is expecting him to play the outfield soon, possibly Sunday.
--OF Rajai Davis was scratched from the March 17 game because of an abdominal strain, and the team decided to hold him out of action for several days minimum. Davis had played in every game this spring, so the feeling was that this would be a good time to get him some days off.
--OF Wagner Mateo, 17, tried out for the A's in a minor league game March 16. The Dominican, who struck out against Oakland starter Dallas Braden his first time up, is trying out for numerous clubs this spring after having his contract with St. Louis voided last summer when he failed a physical. Mateo also took BP against A's right-hander Michael Ynoa earlier in minor league camp. He had signed a deal worth $3.1 million before a problem with his eye-sight was detected in a physical. Mateo was one of the top Latin American prospects available to sign last season. The San Francisco Giants, among other teams, have also had some interest in Mateo.
BY THE NUMBERS: 372 -- Strikeouts in reliever Michael Wuertz's 341 career innings, which averages out to almost 10 strikeouts per nine innings.