The one thing the Astros new brass has stressed this spring training is they want to come out of six week training camp healthy. That explains why they pulled Wandy Rodriguez out of his bullpen session early today.
The Astros lefty had some tightness in his back as he pitched off a bullpen mound for just the second time this spring. Rather than pitch through the pain, Rodriguez just ended his session early.
Rodriguez, who was shopped to other teams in the offseason, remains a key member of the starting rotation. He led the Astros with 11 victories last season on a team that only won 56 games. With an 11-11 record, the 33 year old southpaw was the only starter without a losing record. His 3.49 ERA was the best of any regular in the rotation.
Brad Mills has not announced his Opening Day starter yet. But Rodriguez could get the honors for the first time in his eight year career if Mills decides he would be a better number one starter than Brett Myers, who’s coming off a disappointing showing in 2011.
But to get the Opening Day asssignment, Rodriguez needs to stay healthy this spring. He’ll test his back throwing off a mound again in his next regularly scheduled session on Saturday morning.