Cubs News

Cubs shut down young reliever Manny Rodríguez

11 months agoTony Andracki

MILWAUKEE — Thursday night in Philadelphia will more than likely mark the end of the season for a promising young Cubs reliever.

The team placed Manny Rodríguez on the 10-day injured list Friday afternoon with right shoulder inflammation. He pitched 0.2 innings Thursday night, allowing 3 unearned runs on 3 hits over 22 pitches.

With only about two weeks left in the season, there probably isn’t enough runway for Rodríguez to regain health and get back on the field in 2021. Plus, the Cubs want to be cautious with the 25-year-old right-hander.

Rodríguez was part of the class of youngsters that came up to the big leagues following the wild trade deadline. He was immediately inserted into high-leverage spots out of the bullpen and showed potential.

He averaged 97.2 mph on his fastball and routinely hit triple digits while also featuring a wipeout slider.

Rodríguez picked up his first career save Aug. 4 in Colorado, working a scoreless 9th inning. He had a 2.40 ERA and 1.00 WHIP through his first 16 outings (15 innings).

He ran into a tough patch this month, as he surrendered 11 runs (8 earned) on 10 hits and 5 walks over his last 4 outings (2.2 innings).

“I think he still has a lot of growing to do,” David Ross said. “There were some flashes there of some greatness and there’s still some stuff he can work on. You hate to end a season coming off an outing like that but I talked to him and want him to be really proud.”

Rodríguez has been on the Cubs’ 40-man roster over the past couple of offseasons but injuries and the virus hampered his development path to the big leagues. He dealt with a biceps strain in his throwing arm in spring training 2020 but worked his way back to notch a successful 2021 campaign.

In 20 minor-league games prior to his call-up, Rodríguez had a sparkling 1.31 ERA and 11.8 K/9 with Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.

The history of arm injuries was part of the equation for the Cubs as they decided to shut him down now and ensure this shoulder issue doesn’t linger into the offseason.

“If it is the end, it makes a lot of sense to take care of him because of his history,” Ross said. “And then this kinda extended season he’s gone through and the workload he’s handled this year. I thought he’s done phenomenal. Working his way back from spring training — a little bit of command issues to getting locked in and being able to help us out in a lot of moments, closed out a game for us.

“I’ve seen some really good signs of a guy that can definitely help us out in the future.”

As the Cubs build their bullpen in 2022 and beyond, Rodríguez figures to be in the mix and could potentially emerge as a back-end option or closer one day.

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