By Jon Weisman
Paco Rodriguez has had trouble finishing pitches, manager Don Mattingly told reporters this morning, so he has been placed on the disabled list and is heading to Los Angeles for examination on his left elbow.
Rodriguez’s velocity has been on the decline, as noted in the Daily News by J.P. Hoornstra, despite not having been used frequently. Friday’s 18-pitch outing was his first in five days, and he has pitched on consecutive days only once in the past six weeks.
Here’s a small excerpt from Hoornstra’s piece:
… What’s interesting is that Rodriguez said he had no idea his velocity has been steadily dropping. He’s never relied primarily on speed to be effective, rather deception and location. Because of that, he said, he’s never paid close attention to radar-gun readings.
The decrease in speed is partially by design. Rodriguez said he was hoping to slow down his curveball this year by tightening his grip on the ball, “just so the fastball looks that much harder.” Rodriguez allowed for the possibility that he’s tightened the grip on all his pitches inadvertently. …
So far in 2015, Rodriguez has a 2.61 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 10 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts, stranding 17 of 22 inherited runners.
To take Rodriguez’s place on the active roster, the Dodgers have called up Matt West, the righty they cashed out of Toronto on May 4, from Triple-A Oklahoma City. In the organization this year, West has had 10 strikeouts and a 0.68 WHIP in 10 1/3 innings for Double-A Tulsa, along with four baserunners in two innings with one strikeout for Oklahoma City.
West’s MLB career consists of four innings with the Rangers last season, in which he allowed three runs on seven baserunners while striking out three.
If and when he appears in a game, West will be the first in Dodger history to wear No. 76. However, he will only be the second Dodger ever from Houston’s Bellaire High, after the inimitable Kelly Wunsch.