HARRIS: Keeping Henry Rodriguez is, for now, the right call for the Nationals

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His manager is one of his biggest defenders, which is never a bad thing.

“I’m certainly not anywhere close to giving up on Henry,” Johnson said. “Henry was good last spring and he was good in his first 7-8 saves (last season). I’m attributing the problems he had to his elbow, which he wouldn’t talk about, but if he’s healthy, he’s got three off-the-charts big league pitches. He’s pitched about nine innings this spring? Given up two hits? He’s tough.”

Three hits, actually. And let’s say it again – 11 walks, including one Friday. Opposing batters hit only .078 off him this spring, yet he had an incongruent ERA of 3.72. Nothing says Henry Rodriguez quite like those numbers. Only giving up three hits doesn’t mean a whole lot when you put 11 on with walks.

That said, the Nats absolutely did the right thing keeping Rodriguez around. It’s minimal risk with potentially high reward. His career sample size is getting to the point where wondering if it will happen is legitimate. But it is too early to say it won’t.

“There aren’t many guys who can throw 100 and command 100,” Storen said. “There’s a reason for that. It isn’t easy to do. Henry works at it. He battles. He wants to get better. You can’t leave a guy like that out of your pen.”

 

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