When Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez was left off the postseason roster in 2014, he knew he needed to make a change to be more successful heading into 2015.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the 24-year-old left-hander worked with physical therapist Cindy Larco in Miami and credits her for his turnaround:
Cindy is able to go through all my video and I can call her and tell her what I’m feeling and how the ball is coming out and she figures out what is going on and where I need to be,” Rodriguez said. “She just understands me. After not making the playoff roster last year, I had to think about how to get better. My delivery is a little smoother, I’m a little quicker and using my energy better. The work we did is paying off right now. The ball is moving well. The sharp, late action is back.”
Larco also treated Rodriguez for elbow stress when he was a 16-year-old and has been treating him for every injury or discomfort since. When asked about Rodriguez working with Larco, Dodgers pitching coach Ricky Honeycutt said he is open to his pitchers working with other people so long as it helps them improve:
Certain people have a certain confidence level with people they’ve worked with before,” said Honeycutt. “All I care about, as long as it’s not contradictory to what we’re doing or out of the ordinary or off the reservation stuff, it’s fine. It’s like having a mental coach. As long as it’s not harmful, it can be helpful. All I ask is that we know what they’re doing. My job is to be a support person for the pitcher. It’s never been, ‘My way or the highway.’ I’ve never been that type of guy.”
Rodriguez has bounced back nicely this season, as he earned a spot on the Opening Day roster by pitching 10.2 scoreless innings in Spring Training. The left-hander has since appeared in five of the Dodgers’ nine games so far in the regular season, giving up one run in 2.1 innings.
Rodriguez had a successful rookie campaign in 2013, tossing 54.1 innings to go with a 2.32 ERA. However, his first taste of life in the Majors also resulted in him getting fatigued and faltering in the postseason.
He spent much of last season shuttling back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A, and suffered an injury that limited him to just 14 innings with the Dodgers.
While Rodriguez has been mainly used against left-handers this season, he has proven in the past that he can get right-handed batters out as well. Should Rodriguez continue to put together strong outings, it may be enough for manager Don Mattingly to expand his role.
Paco Rodriguez Worked On Improving Mechanics