09/05/12 9:59 PM ET
Lefty Rodriguez is first 2012 draftee to reach bigs
By Alex Angert / MLB.com
"Call me Paco," he said introducing himself. "The only time I'm called Steven is when my mom is mad at me."
With the Dodgers in need of a left-handed reliever, Rodriguez got the call Tuesday and was on the mound before Wednesday's game throwing a bullpen session to introduce himself to his new coaches.
Sitting in class a mere few months ago, the 21-year-old now finds himself in the thick of a pennant race.
"These are the guys I've watched on TV," he said. "To be part of this, it's hard to put into words."
Rodriguez was projected to be one of the first possible players to make it the big leagues when drafted, and Dodgers scouting director and assistant general manager Logan White predicted he could be ready to be called up at the end of 2013 or for the 2014 season after the Draft.
With Randy Choate the only lefty in the Dodgers' bullpen since Scott Elbert hit the disabled list, the need for a reliever like Rodriguez was expedited.
Batters hit only 7-for-47 (.149) off of Rodriguez in Double-A in 13 2/3 innings pitched. He posted a 2.19 ERA in 86 games with the University of Florida.
Rodriguez went 1-0 with five saves and a 0.92 ERA (two earned runs in 19 2/3 innings) in 21 relief appearances between Double-A and Class A.
After Rodriguez was drafted, White said he could see Rodriguez as a starter or a closer down the road. The former Gator throws in the 90-94-mph range with a nice breaking ball.
"As soon as he's ready and as soon as we need him, if we need him, I think he can be more than a left-on-left guy," White said back in June. "I don't see why he doesn't have the stuff to pitch in any role you want out of the bullpen."
Manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday he will be used primarily as a lefty specialist.
He said he has been pitching in relief since college and it's what he likes to do. For now, he's ready to help the Dodgers in any way he can with one month left in the season.
"Today, everybody here's been great to me," he said. "Now I've got to perform. I've got to get over it. But on the mound, looking up at all the decks, the biggest place I've ever played before was Omaha and they only have two decks."
Jansen reports no issues after throwing in 'pen
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who announced Tuesday that he will be on blood-thinning medication for 10 more days with hopes to return Sept. 18, threw a bullpen session Wednesday and said he felt fine.
He will also be taking a sleep apnea test overnight Wednesday at a facility to see if there is any relation between his sleep patterns and his irregular heartbeat.
He then plans to fly with the team to San Francisco on Thursday and continue what he's been doing for the next two weeks.
Dodgers hope Lilly, Elbert return for stretch run
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers called up 21-year-old lefty Steven Rodriguez on Wednesday and they might have a couple more familiar southpaws on the way to bolster their bullpen.
Ted Lilly, who has been out since May 24 with left shoulder inflammation and stalled because of back pain, threw a simulated game at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.
He threw about 28 pitches and said he felt fine on the mound. He said the back pain is pretty much gone and he is still hopeful to throw out of the bullpen this season.
Manager Don Mattingly said Lilly would be used in a limited role to get a lefty out late in the game here and there. He said Lilly's fastball was at its regular 85-86 mph range.
Reliever Scott Elbert, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 27 with elbow inflammation, played catch Wednesday.
"When he comes back, we're not going to be able to use him like we have in the past," Mattingly said. "It'll be another situation where we'll use him sparingly. Not going to let him warm up two or three times."
If the team needs it, Mattingly also said starters Joe Blanton and Aaron Harang can provide bullpen relief down the stretch.
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.