Yariel Rodríguez’s quest to the big leagues starts in the best way in Triple-A debut

Looks like at least another one of the Jays’ offseason signings is starting to pay off as well

Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day
Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

When Yariel Rodríguez chose the Toronto Blue Jays as his next destination for his career, he had only one goal in mind: to contribute at the big league level. That dream is now one step closer to becoming a reality after his impressive debut with the Jays’ Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons on Tuesday.

Rodríguez made the start for the Bisons against the Worcester Red Sox and went four strong innings of no-hit ball, together with 6 strikeouts and a walk. He threw 55 pitches, 34 of them strikes, keeping the opposing hitters off balance with his fastball and slider mix. He ended up with a no-decision, as the Bisons didn’t score their runs until the ninth inning. Nevertheless, the Jays have to be pleased with what they saw in his first start of the year.

Since Rodríguez had not pitched in an actual professional baseball game in over a year when he joined the Jays this past offseason, he had some catching up to do in terms of regaining game-ready stamina and endurance, along with ramping up the velocities of his pitches. Rodríguez had even admitted himself that his arm was only 75% ready entering training camp, so there was some work left to be done.

However, Rodríguez suffered from back spasms in the early parts of spring training, delaying his preseason debut until the latter parts of March. In the end, he managed to get into only two spring training games, but he did look good, giving up just one run with three strikeouts in five innings of work. As a result, he was expected to spend a little more time in the minors to start the season to ramp up his activities and get into proper game shape in the process.

Following his great start on Tuesday, Rodríguez will likely see at least a couple more appearances with the Bisons before the Jays can decide what they plan to do with him going forward. Since Rodríguez has had experience as both a starter and a reliever in his career, the Jays can deploy him based on what their immediate need is at the time when he is officially ready. In the meantime, Jays’ fans can start getting excited in anticipation that a potential difference maker could be joining the club pretty soon in the not-so-distant future.