Well, sir. For two appearances, fireballing relief prospect Manny Rodriguez was a hot story in Cubs camp.
He was surprisingly added to the 40-man roster in the fall to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft (straight from High-A), so you knew the Cubs saw something in him. Then, Rodriguez showed up in Spring Training throwing upper-90s gas with a nasty breaker, and you could easily dream on a significant bullpen contribution as soon as the second half of this year.
That might still be the case, to be sure, but the roll has been slowed:
Ross said pitching prospect Manny Rodriguez's injury is a "Grade 2" biceps strain. No timetable given. Medical/training staff still mapping out a rehab plan.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 3, 2020
Rodriguez, 23, threw a weird curveball in his last outing, and then started shaking his arm and flexing his hand, immediately bringing the trainer out. He departed, got an MRI yesterday, and there’s the news.
At least it’s not a structural issue in the elbow, but with a Grade 2 strain, Rodriguez is likely to be down for a while. From there, he has to build back up to competitive arm strength, so it seems very likely he’ll be on the shelf when the minor league season opens. Rodriguez figured to begin the season at AA Tennessee with a quick jump to AAA Iowa possible. Now? He might have to do a little rehab/ramp-up situation in the early part of the season.
Unfortunately, this is the reality of Spring Training. Guys show up. Guys titillate your baseball senses. Guys get hurt.
Since Rodriguez is on the 40-man, if the Cubs wanted to open up a 40-man spot to add a non-roster guy this month, they could put Rodriguez on the 60-day IL. The only catch there is that guys on the 60-day IL get paid the big league rate and accrue service time. Would be nice for Rodriguez, to be sure, but obviously the Cubs are squeezing nickels relative to the luxury tax this year.