Arizona Diamondbacks: Fernando Rodney entertains in Miami
By Joseph Jacquez
Meanwhile, Arizona Diamondbacks’ prospect Zach Borenstein helps Team Isreal advance to the second round
The Arizona Diamondbacks are well represented at the 2017 World Baseball Classic with major-leaguers and up and coming prospects playing for their country and international bragging rights.
Paul Goldschmidt (Team USA), Fernando Rodney (Dominican Republic), Daniel Descalso (Italy), Silvino Bracho (Venezuela), Zach Borenstein (Israel), Miguel Aguilar (Mexico), Reymond Fuentes (Puerto Rico) and Jeremy Bleich (Israel) are representing their countries and the Diamondbacks organization.
The WBC is about getting ready for the MLB season, but the chance to earn international bragging rights on some of the world’s biggest stages means everything to players and coaching staffs.
Goldschmidt and Rodney, in videos from the Diamondback’s Twitter account, talked about what playing in this tournament means.
"It’s definitely a huge honor, something I really wanted to do,. When I got the opportunity, I was very excited. It is an honor to represent the Diamondbacks and my country with Team USA. Like I said, I’m excited about it and hopefully win a championship.I feel happy thank god. To be healthy to see myself healthy and to represent the Dominican Republic. However, I also feel obligated to represent a country with 10 or 11 million inhabitants to the best of my ability. I feel that for me it is a commitment."
The game of baseball is played at the WBC, but the international showcase is also about the passion, energy, and personality that players and fans bring to the different matchups and locations. Rodney certainly fits that mold.
The Arizona Diamondbacks signed the 41-year-old to make up for lost experience in the pen, but his personality will have an impact. Players have described Torey Lovullo as a player’s manager, so Rodney should fit in perfectly.
WBC Update: Diamondback contributions
Fernando Rodney – Team Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic began Pool C play at Marlins Park in Miami against Team Canada on Thursday.
With Team D.R. holding a 9-2 lead, Rodney entered the game in the ninth. He made his 13th appearance, which tied Fernando Cabrera, who pitched for Puerto Rico, for the most appearances by a reliever in WBC history.
Rodney faced two batters and struck out both. He got San Diego Padres RF/1B prospect Jamie Romak to chase an elevated 95 mph fastball for the first out. He then made quick work of Milwaukee Brewers scout and former farmhand Pete Orr on three pitches. Rodney needed just eight pitches and looked in midseason form.
Paul Goldschmidt – Team USA
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Goldschmidt is used to batting in the three-hole, but Team USA has just a few more stars than the Arizona Diamondbacks can offer.
Nolan Arenado was batting third when the United States played their opening game against Team Columbia on Friday night, but Goldschmidt found a way to contribute.
His at-bat leading off the top of the second displayed an approach Diamondbacks’ fans are accustomed to seeing. After getting ahead in the count 2-1, Goldschmidt laid off tough pitches and worked a leadoff walk. Leadoff walks often score, and Goldschmidt’s knowledge of the strike zone will help the U.S.
Goldschmidt is competing for at-bats with Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals.
Zach Borenstein – Team Israel
Team Isreal is the surprise of the WBC so far, going 3-0 in Seoul, South Korea, and advancing to the second round with Team Netherlands.
Israel’s bats were locked in from pitch one, and Diamondbacks’ prospect Zach Borenstein did his part. The 26-year-old hit .286 (4-for-14) with a .375 on-base percentage. Three of his four hits were doubles, and he scored and drove in a run.
Borenstein and his Israeli teammates start second round play against Cuba at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Borenstein slashed .272/.337/.440 in 120 games with the Triple-A Reno Aces in 2016.
Reymond Fuentes, who signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks this offseason, hit a single to center and scored a run in three at-bats for Team Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico pounded Team Venezuela 11-0 in seven innings on Friday.
Daniel Descalso had a hit and a run scored for Team Italy, who walked off Team Mexico with a four-run rally in the ninth on Thursday.
Next: Zack Greinke satisfied with second spring outing
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