Monday, April 28, 2008


Baseball magic is alive!

And so is
Eladio Rodriguez!

Earlier this afternoon, we'd asked about the whereabouts of the venerable 29-year-old catcher from the Dominican Republic who made a hit-- (lots of hits, batting .461) with the Modi'in Miracle of the Israel Baseball League and won a contract with the New York Yankees' Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania minor league team-- but never showed up for Spring Training.

Our exact words: "Where's Eladio?"

And then... hours ago... amid talk of "visa problems" and multiple aliases... forgotten by fans... unexpectedly... ELADIO SHOWED UP !

Chad Jennings of the Scranton Times-Tribune Yankees blog has the exclusive:

"Hard to see this move coming.

"Needing a second catcher after Chris Stewart was called to New York, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Monday added Eladio Rodriguez, the 29-year-old former Israel Baseball League co-MVP.

"Rodriguez was one of two players signed by the Yankees out of the IBL this winter. The other, Jason Rees, was released during spring training. Rodriguez, meanwhile, never made it to spring training because of visa problems. When Mark Newman told me this spring this spring that Rodriguez wasn't in spring training, I took him to mean that Rodriguez was out of the Yankees fold completely.

"Instead, Rodriguez said this afternoon that visa problems kept him out of the United States until April 4, at which point he reported to extended spring training. He's been there ever since and said he feels ready to play.

"His history is a strange one. Originally signed by Boston as a non-drafted free agent, Rodriguez was an outfielder and catcher in the Red Sox system, but this fan site and his stats in the Yankees media guide say he spent all of 2004 as a pitcher (that link has the same stats listed in the media guide). When I asked Rodriguez about pitching, though, he said he had only pitched one or two times in his career and refered to himself as having always been a catcher.

"Maybe there was some miscommunication because of the language barrier, but I didn't feel like we were misunderstanding one another. Either way, last year's stats in Israel were amazing: 34 games, 16 home runs, .461 batting average and 44 RBIs. He's not in the lineup tonight, but he could be interesting to watch once he gets in a game. Amazing that in less than a month this team has gone from Chad Moeller and Chris Stewart to Jason Brown and Eladio Rodriguez."

The story continues to unfold...

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