Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Interview Part 3: Jose Castro, On Top

Note: The Greatest 21 Days originally interviewed Jose Castro in 2014. The interview is being reposted and updated to include new photos of Castro taken at Turner Field in June 2016, with Castro serving as Braves assistant hitting coach.
Jose Castro, second from the right, in the Braves dugout at Turner Field in Atlanta in June 2016. (Greatest 21 Days)
Part 1: The Maximum | Part 2: Another Door
Part 3: On Top

Jose Castro returned for his second stint in the majors in 2014, this time with the Cubs. His job was as the team's quality assurance coach, a job that has several components.

There's a video component, helping with replay challenges. There's watching the opposing team, looking for their tendencies or pitchers tipping their offerings.

There was also the coaching component, helping out the club's hitting coaches in the batting cage or going over reports on opposing pitchers.

"It's not, I wouldn't say, hectic," Castro told The Greatest 21 Days in September 2014. "It's just a job that you have to be on top of your game to make the best of the team."

Castro has ended up on the top level of the baseball world for two seasons now, in the majors. He first made the bigs in mid-2008, as interim hitting coach for the Mariners. He then returned to the majors in 2014 in his role with the Cubs.

His major league time is at those two seasons and counting - in a professional playing and coaching career that has lasted nearly four decades. He's continued in 2015 and 2016 with the Braves as assistant major league hitting coach.

Castro spoke with The Greatest 21 Days by phone on an off day in early September 2014. He talked about his time growing up in Florida and learning the game after his family left Cuba.

He also talked about his time in the minors, his turn to coaching and, finally, his arrival and work in the majors.
Jose Castro, left, at the rail in the Braves dugout in June 2016. (Greatest 21 Days)
Castro started his coaching career in 1990. That was also his 14th and final season as a player.

He joined the Expos system that offseason and played 19 games at AAA Indianapolis before being offered the hitting coach job with the Expos' short-season entry in Jamestown, NY.

Castro recalled the transition from playing to coach as being a tough one, especially making that transition as quickly as he did.

"It's not easy because you have that player in you still," Castro said. "But it was fun. The coaches there were fun. They were hard workers."

It was a transition that Castro wanted to make. He was also ready to learn.

"If you want to do something real bad and you put everything into it,"Castro said, "then you learn a lot. You just keep learning and you never stop learning.

"Whenever there's something in baseball that's talked about, you listen and you learn, from everyone," Castro added.

Castro moved to single-A Rockford as hitting coach in 1991. By 1993, he was at single-A Kane County, following his coaching mentor John Boles to the Marlins system.
The Braves' Chase d'Arnaud at Turner Field in June 2016. Jose Castro works with Braves hitters as assisting hitting coach.
Over the next decade-plus, Castro served in various positions, including several minor league hitting coach slots. He served at AA Portland in 1994. In 1997, he was hitting coach at high-A Brevard County with Randy Hennis and manager Lorenzo Bundy.

He later moved to the Expos, Padres and Mariners systems, taking similar roles, helping players be the best hitters they can be.

"Hitting is the toughest thing to do in any sport," Castro said. "It's a combination of the mechanics of the swing and the mental approach to it."

There's also has to be an understanding from the hitter what his strength is in the strike zone.

"Make it as simple as you can and keep you as a hitter to your strength," Castro said. "Yeah, you'll have your good days and bad days, but, again, that's what it is. If you're failing 70 percent of the time as a hitter, you're still pretty good."

Castro moved to the Mariners in 2008 as the club's roving minor league hitting instructor. That's the role he served for the first three months, traveling around the Mariners system.

In June, he was at the Mariners' California League entry, the High Desert Mavericks when he got a call from Seattle's coordinator of minor league instruction Pedro Grifol.

Castro remembers the call clearly.
Jose Castro in the Braves dugout in June 2016. (Greatest 21 Days)
Grifol asked where Castro was going next. Castro responded that he was at the end of his schedule, so he was headed home.

"He said, 'Well, change that. Go to Seattle,'" Castro recalled.

Changes were underway. A short time after he arrived, Castro was offered and he accepted the Mariners' interim hitting coach position.

"I was there for three-and-a-half months, four months," Castro said. "It was a great experience working with these big league hitters."

He worked with Adrian Beltre, Raul Ibanez and others. Castro called Ibanez a complete professional. "If he's a good player, he's a better human being," Castro said of Ibanez.

Castro then returned to the minors with the Mariners and with the Royals. He served 2013 as the Royals minor league assistant hitting coordinator.

For 2014, he rejoined another manager he'd worked with. In 2007, Castro served as hitting coach at AAA Portland, Ore., under manager Rick Renteria. After Renteria accepted the manager's post with the Cubs, Castro became the club's quality assurance coach.

Castro recalled he and Renteria first worked together in the Marlins system. Renteria's first managerial job was in 1998 at Brevard County. Castro was his hitting coach.
Jose Castro in the majors greeting pitcher Hunter Cervenka in June 2016 as he returns to the dugout at Turner Field. (Greatest 21 Days)
"It's a wonderful thing to be back and to be back again under Ricky, whom I've known for many years now," Castro said.

Castro could be found during games in the club's video room with assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley. That's where they help with the replay challenges. The video room is also there for players in between at bats, checking on pitches thrown or on their swing.

"We're always on top of stuff," Castro said. "Whatever they need, we're there to facilitate."

There's also a lot of planning ahead and making sure information is available to the players, Castro said.

"Some guys want information, some don't want as much," Castro said. "But whatever information it is, we have. Whatever they want to take from it, they take."

He's since gone on to serve the Braves in 2015 and 2016 as assistant hitting coach. 

His 2014 season marked his 38th in the game, counting both his time as a player and his time as a coach.

He's spent that time in eight different organizations and in his share of cities and roles.

"The way I look at it," Castro said, "wherever you go - it doesn't matter where you're at - you want to make those players better and that organization better. That's the way I look at it."

Part 1: The Maximum | Part 2: Another Door
Part 3: On Top

Be sure and read Part 1: Jose Castro, The Maximum

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Interview Part 2: Jose Castro, Another Door

Note: The Greatest 21 Days originally interviewed Jose Castro in 2014. The interview is being reposted and updated to include new photos of Castro taken at Turner Field in June 2016, with Castro serving as Braves assistant hitting coach.
Jose Castro, right, in the Atlanta dugout at Turner Field in June 2016. Castro serves as the Braves' assistant hitting coach. (Greatest 21 Days)
Part 1: The Maximum | Part 2: Another Door
Part 3: On Top

Jose Castro spent his first five seasons with the Phillies organization. He made AAA, but he didn't make Philadelphia.

He then found himself traded to a new organization, the White Sox. He went on to play in three other organizations in his 14-season professional career, trying to make that jump to the majors in each one.

"They close one door on you and there's another one that opens," Castro told The Greatest 21 Days. "That's how I look at it.

"You've got to go out there and prove yourself and do the best you can, prepare for that season, which you do in the wintertime, and go play baseball."

When the door finally closed on Castro's long playing career, another one opened again: to coaching. That door eventually took him to the major leagues. Castro spent part of 2008 as the Mariners' hitting coach. He then returned to the bigs in 2014 as quality assurance coach for the Cubs.

Castro spoke with The Greatest 21 Days by phone on an off day in early September 2014. He talked about his time growing up in Florida and learning the game after his family left Cuba.
Jose Castro, center, at Turner Field in June 2016. (Greatest 21 Days)
He also talked about his time in the minors, his turn to coaching and, finally, his arrival and work in the majors. He moved to the Braves for 2015 as assistant hitting coach, returning there for 2016.

Castro's career began in 1977, when he was taken by the Phillies in the 27th round of the draft out of Jackson High School in Miami. He played those five seasons in the Phillies organization, before his move to the White Sox.

With the White Sox in 1982, Castro played at AAA Edmonton. He hit .263 in 129 games. He later followed the organization's AAA club to Denver and to Buffalo.

"That was a challenge," Castro said of his first move to the White Sox system. "It's hard to play in the minor leagues, due to the traveling and places to stay and just the whole package. It's not an easy gig but if you love the game, you just go through it."

Castro ended up playing four seasons at AAA with the White Sox, two at AAA Omaha with the Royals and then got his last time in 1990 at AAA with the Expos at Indianapolis.

His final season was his 14th as a pro.

"It's a grind," Castro said of sticking around that long. "It's a mental grind. You just want to keep proving to yourself that you can do it. You know, sometimes you're stubborn with it, or however you want to look at it, but I never quit."
Turner Field in Atlanta in June 2016 where Jose Castro serves as assistant hitting coach. (Greatest 21 Days)
Castro said he always just pushed forward.

"It doesn't matter how bad it is or if you think, by any chance or any doubt or something, you just keep pushing, keep working," Castro said. "That's how you go about life in general, not just baseball."

There were also sacrifices to playing, Castro recalled. He was away from his family, first his parents and then his wife and kids. He said he thanks them all for pulling for him for so many years, "and they're still doing it," he said.

In 1983, Castro went through it and helped the Denver Bears to the American Association championship.

Castro noted that minor leaguers work toward the same goal, making the majors, and it happens to end in a championship.

"Working together for one goal, to get better, to get moved up, to play in the big leagues and it happens during that run you win a championship," Castro said. "It's a great feeling ... it doesn't matter where you win it, it's an awesome feeling."

Castro started that coaching career began with the help of a former manager of Castro's, John Boles.

Castro played in three different organizations where Boles worked. Boles managed Castro in 1985 at Buffalo. In 1988, the two were in the Royals system, Castro at AAA Omaha, Boles as the team's director of player development.
Russell Diethrick Park in Jamestown, NY, in 2014. Jose Castro played at Diethrick in 1977 with visiting Auburn. He also started his coaching career with Jamestown in 1990. (G21D Photo)
Then, in 1990, Castro joined Boles in the Expos system at Indianapolis. Boles served as the team's vice president of player development.

"I knew it was coming to an end," Castro said of his playing career. "I was very fortunate to have played for John Boles. He just retired this year. He was my mentor through this whole race, or this career of mine."

Castro recalled Boles first mentioning the possibility of coaching to him in the winter of 1989, before the 1990 season. Castro said he would like to stay in the game as a coach.

He went from playing to coaching in 1990, starting with Indianapolis and ending as hitting coach with the Expos entry in the New York-Penn League, Jamestown.

"Through John Boles and his help I'm still doing this," Castro said.

His many years as a player included a couple springs, Castro recalled, that he seemed close to making the majors. He was one of the last players cut.

When he didn't make it, he recalled, he would go back to minor league camp and keep working.

"I didn't play in the big leagues," Castro said, "but I coached in the big leagues. I've been blessed."

But it took Castro a few more years in the minors to finally make the majors, 18 more years to be exact. (Go to Part 3)

Part 1: The Maximum | Part 2: Another Door
Part 3: On Top

Go to Part 3: Jose Castro, On Top

Monday, June 27, 2016

Interview Part 1: Jose Castro, The Maximum

Note: The Greatest 21 Days originally interviewed Jose Castro in 2014. The interview is being reposted and updated to include new photos of Castro taken at Turner Field in June 2016, with Castro serving as Braves assistant hitting coach. Special thanks again to former Marlins minor league coach Randy Hennis for making the 2014 interview possible.
Atlanta Braves assistant hitting coach Jose Castro, center, with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, left, and outfielder Jeff Francoeur, June 11, 2016, at Turner Field. Castro is in his second season with the Braves in 2016. (Greatest 21 Days)
Part 1: The Maximum | Part 2: Another Door
Part 3: On Top

Making changes in June 2008, the Mariners summoned Jose Castro to Seattle.

The changes involved the team's coaches and the Mariners had an offer for Castro: Would Castro be interested in being the Mariners' interim hitting coach?

Castro gave a definitive answer.

"I said absolutely," Castro recalled in September 2014 to The Greatest 21 Days. "I was there three-and-a-half to four months. That was a great experience working with these big league hitters."

Castro also got his first look at major league life after more than three decades in the game as both a player and a coach. He'd spent 14 of those years as a player, making AAA, but not the majors.

After all that time spent in the minors, what did he think about making it to the majors?

"It's the big leagues," Castro said. "Everything about it. It's the place where you want to be. It's just the max, the maximum, just everything about it."

"You've got to do it and go through it to really understand the big leagues," Castro said. "It's a great place to be."
Jose Castro, right, in the big leagues in 2016, serving as assistant hitting coach for the Braves at Turner Field. (Greatest 21 Days)
Castro's time with Seattle ended with 2008's end. But Castro returned to the majors in 2014, with the Cubs. Castro helped players with hitting, going through reports on opposing pitches and helping with replay challenges all as the team's quality assurance coach.

He has since returned to the majors in two more seasons, serving as assistant hitting coach for the Braves in 2015 and 2016.

Castro spoke with The Greatest 21 Days by phone on an off day in early September 2014. He talked about his time growing up in Florida and learning the game after his family left Cuba.

He also talked about his time in the minors, turn to coaching and, finally, his arrival and work in the majors.

Castro spent his first years in Cuba, born in Havana in 1958. It was when he was 7, in 1965, that his family left the country for Florida. Castro recalled then that all they needed to leave was a boat.

The boat was provided by his uncle, who'd left in 1959 and set up a market. He'd saved some money, rented the craft and picked up Castro's family.

Castro remembered the weather not cooperating for the trip. Cuba to Key West can take as little as three hours by speed boat, Castro said. His family's trip in that sail boat took 27 hours, he recalled.

"We hit some really bad, rough seas," Castro said, "so it took a while to get there."

Castro's family settled in Miami. He recalled it took him a few years to find baseball. He was 13 when he started playing, getting involved in the local leagues.
Braves center fielder Mallex Smith at the plate at Turner Field in June 2016. (Greatest 21 Days)

He got involved through a combination of playing in school and with friends. He grew up in a large apartment complex and he and friends would just throw baseballs around and just hit.

Castro recalled one of the parents coaching his local team spotted something in Castro.
"My dad had played some amateur baseball in Cuba, so he saw a little bit of that in me," Castro said.

Castro also began to play well. The scouts started watching, as well.

Knowing the scouts were there, Castro tried to continue what he'd been doing.

"You just play and you really don't know where it's going to take you," Castro said. "Like every kid, you have a dream when you're doing something. It's great to dream and, when it happens, it's really nice to accomplish your goals."'

Castro's first goal was to play professionally. By the time draft day came, Castro had heard rumors that he'd go in different rounds. He eventually went in the 27th round to the Phillies.

"I had a couple of college offers," Castro said, "but I wanted to get into professional baseball and I did."

"You work so hard to do it and it happens," Castro said of getting drafted. "It's a great feeling."
Falcon Park II in Auburn, NY, in 2008. Jose Castro made his pro debut in Auburn in 1977. (Greatest 21 Days)
Castro started with the Phillies at short-season Auburn in the New York-Penn League. He recalled having to learn the basics being away from home for the first time, from cooking to paying rent.

"You're doing a lot of different things, with not a lot of money, by the way," Castro said.

Castro hit .246 in 61 games that year at Auburn. He moved up to single-A Spartanburg in 1978, then single-A Peninsula for 1979. He also got 20 games at AA Reading that year.

Back at Reading for all of 1980, Castro hit .310. "I had a good year there," Castro said. "Things were looking up."

He earned a spot at AAA Oklahoma City for 1981, hitting .303 there in 122 games. With another good year, though, Castro didn't take the next jump to Philadelphia. 

"I never repeated a level until I got to AAA," Castro said, "and then I spent 10 years there."

Castro eventually spent those 10 AAA seasons in five different organizations. Though he didn't make the majors, he did make the contacts he needed to start a coaching career that eventually did get him where he wanted to be, the majors. (Go to Part 2)

Part 1: The Maximum | Part 2: Another Door
Part 3: On Top

Go to Part 2: Jose Castro, Another Door

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Darrin Winston, Saddest Ending - 24

Originally published April 6, 2014
It took Darrin Winston more than nine years to make the majors. Along the way, he sat out a season to injury, didn't play in another then almost got released months before he made his big league debut.

Then, when the pitcher finally made it, he threw a gem. In his first major league start, Winston went seven innings, giving up a single hit and a single unearned run, The Allentown Morning Call wrote.

"This one was for all the people who told me to never give up, to keep at it," Winston told The Morning Call after that first start. "It really is a dream come true. You can't find a better ending to my story."

Winston's story would go on to include another season with time in the majors and four seasons of independent ball with the Somerset Patriots in his home state of New Jersey.

Winston's story, though, would ultimately have the saddest of endings. In August 2008, not long after being diagnosed with leukemia, the married father of six and grandfather of one passed away. He was 42 years old.

Winston's professional baseball story began in 1988, taken by the Expos in the 18th round of the draft out of Rutgers.

Winston started at short-season Jamestown in 1988. He made AA Jacksonville in 1990, then AAA Indianapolis. He missed all of 1992 to injury.

He returned in 1993 and stayed with the Expos system through 1994 without making Montreal. He played at AAA with the Pirates then sat out all of 1996.

For 1997, Winston returned with the Phillies, playing the year at AAA Scranton. He then made Philadelphia.

In seven outings, one start for the Phillies, Winston gave up seven earned in 12 innings of work. He gave up all seven of his earned runs in two relief outings, four in his debut.

He then came back for 1998, getting 27 relief outings. He ended with a 6.12 ERA and one save. His save came in late April, Winston pitching the 10th inning.

Winston also made the Phillies' Opening Day roster. There for the big occasion was his wife and family, The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote.

"I felt like a little kid," Winston told The Inquirer afterward. "I looked at them and I could see the joy in their eyes. I could see them waving. I could see my son, and I could see how pretty my wife and my girls looked. It was an amazing feeling."

Winston's final major league game came that June. For 1999, Winston moved to the independent Patriots. He continued with the Patriots through 2002. Winston went on to coach youth baseball.

Then, in August 2008, Winston was diagnosed with leukemia. He passed away Aug. 15. Winston was remembered after his passing as a family man, a man of faith and as a ball player, according to The Edison Sentinel.

"He was very introspective, very selfaware, very confident," Winston's old high school coach Michael Wolfthal told The Sentinel. "But he was, you know, a team kid; the team always came first with Darrin. He cared very much about his teammates, his friends. He married his high school sweetheart. What can we tell you — if there's 'all- American boy' in the dictionary, his picture is next to it."

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hector Berrios, Real Serious - 3

Hector Berrios showed out of high school that he knew how to take advice, according to The Eugene Register-Guard.

An outfielder for James Monroe High School in the Bronx, Berrios recalled to The Register-Guard in 1984 a scout telling him a lack of speed would prevent him from making it professionally in the outfield.

"The scout said, 'Work on pitching, and when I come back you should show me that you have learned a little bit,'" Berrios told The Register-Guard. "So I got real serious about pitching, because I wanted to play professional baseball."

Berrios' seriousness paid off with an eight-season career as a pitcher in professional baseball. He made AAA, but not the majors.

He has since gone on to another career in professional baseball, one where he gives the advice trying to send pitchers on to the majors as a minor league pitching coach.
Berrios' career began that year in 1984, signed by the Royals, having played at the Bronx' James Monroe High.

He started with the Royals at Eugene. He got 22 outings, two starts, posting a 2.53 ERA. He went six innings in one of his starts, giving up three earned and taking the loss.

Berrios returned to Eugene for 1985. He also got time at single-A Fort Myers. After not being recorded as playing in 1986, he returned with the Tigers in 1987 at single-A Fayetteville.

He moved to AA Glens Falls for 1988, posting a 3.55 ERA over 25 outings. He then played again at Fayetteville for 1989 and high-A Lakeland for 1990.

Berrios arrived in the Angels system for 1991 and he saw his first time at AAA. He played in 17 games at AAA Edmonton that year, posting a 3.86 ERA.

Berrios played in one more season, split between the Dodgers and Cubs, both at AAA, ending his playing career.

By 1998, Berrios started his new career as a minor league pitching coach. He served that year at single-A Hagerstown. He stayed there through 2000. He then moved to single-A Charleston, high-A Dunedin and then short-season Brooklyn.

Berrios ended up spending six seasons as pitching coach for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

"It starts with our pitching coach, Hector," Brooklyn pitcher Stephen Clyne told NY Sports Day in 2007 of Berrios. "After every game he tells us what we did right, what we did wrong and we learn from our mistakes. Our next time out, we go out there and try to correct those mistakes. I think it all comes down to our pitching coach, the way we listen and the way we prepare ourselves."

Berrios moved on to AA Binghamton for 2009 and the Gulf Coast League for 2010. He then went through the Dodgers system, coaching at Rancho Cucamonga and Great Lakes. For 2016, he's serving as pitching coach at short-season Williamsport in the Phillies system.

Berrios explained his approach for 2016 to The Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

"We're hoping to lead the league in fewest walks allowed," Berrios told The Sun-Gazette. "That will limit baserunners and it sets the tone for more good things to happen."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,383
Made the Majors: 978-41.0%
Never Made Majors:1,405-59.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 407
10+ Seasons in the Minors:245

Hector Rivera, Slowed By Injuries - 23

Originally published Dec. 8, 2010
By mid-July 1989, Hector Rivera was West Palm Beach's top pitcher. He had allowed just two earned runs over his previous 46 innings, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel wrote.

He also won Florida State League Player of the Week honors that month, throwing a complete game. Soon, Rivera found himself moved up to AA Jacksonville, but he couldn't keep up the pace.

Slowed by injuries, Rivera's career would end a season later, without Rivera making the majors.

A native of Mexico, Rivera joined the Expos system in 1987, signed as a free agent. He played that season at the Gulf Coast League Expos, going 5-8 with a 2.70 ERA.

He wasn't credited with playing in 1988, but returned for 1989, The Sun Sentinel in April 1989 citing previous arm problems. Rivera pitched that year for single-A West Palm Beach. On the season, he went 7-3 with a stellar ERA of 1.83.

Rivera started off the year with an 11-strike-out effort against Oceola, but he was also credited with the loss.

Moved up to AA Jacksonville, Rivera got five starts, posting a non-stellar 5.33 ERA. He was one of several West Palm Beach Expos to get moved up.

"We always kept a pretty decent team here, but we started the season with a great club," West Palm Beach Manager Felipe Alou told The Sun-Sentinel at year's end.

He returned to Jacksonville for 1990, getting 18 starts. He went 6-6 with a 3.60 ERA. In early June, he went 5.1 innings, giving up one run and four hits and got the win. Soon after, he went on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, The Orlando Sentinel wrote. He came back in early July on a pitch count and pitched five innings, part of a combined three-hitter.

Rivera was cited in spring 1991 as having a sore arm. But he wouldn't return. He had played his final season in the United States, his career ending after without getting higher than AA. He is credited, though, with continuing playing in his native Mexico, last playing in 1996 with Tabasco.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Boi Rodriguez, Hoped To - 8

Boi Rodriguez started his career in the Expos system, making it to AA Jacksonville in his third season and returning there in his fourth.

He then got traded to the Braves for 1991 and took that next step, playing much of that next season at AAA Richmond. Then his advancement stopped.

"People who get traded to Atlanta are in trouble," Rodriguez lamented to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1995 after spending four seasons in the Braves system without seeing Atlanta. "You either move slow or don't move at all."

Rodriguez hoped to take that final step with the Pirates in 1995. He went on to play professionally for another decade, playing in Mexico and even Japan. He never made the majors.

Rodriguez' career began in 1987, taken by the Expos in the fourth round of the draft out of Indiana State University.

At Indiana State, Rodriguez smacked an 11th-inning triple in May 1986 to send his team on to the College World Series.

With the Expos, Rodriguez started at short-season Jamestown. He hit .281 over 77 games. He moved to single-A West Palm Beach for 1988, then AA Jacksonville for 1989.

Rodriguez hit .247 that year at Jacksonville. That August, he picked up two doubles in a Jacksonville win. He then returned to Jacksonville for 1990, increasing his average to .281.

Then came his Braves years. He played 1991 between AA Greenville and AAA Richmond. He returned to Richmond for 1992 and 1993 and played 1994 in Mexico. He hit a high of .281 in 1991, but he never saw Atlanta. He hit a game-tying home run in a September 1993 game for Richmond.

He joined the Pirates in time for replacement ball in 1995 and chafed at the pressure from the union. He questioned what the union had ever done for minor leaguers, The Associated Press wrote.

"I'm doing what's best for me," Rodriguez told The AP that March. "The major leaguers are doing what's best for them and I'm doing what's best for me."

Rodriguez ended up playing 11 games for AAA Calgary that year then he returned to Mexico. He played in Mexico through 2001, then got his opportunity in Japan.

He played 138 games for Yokohama in 2002, hitting .262, with 18 home runs. Rodriguez continued playing through 2005, playing in Mexico and Korea to round out his career.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,382
Made the Majors: 978-41.1%
Never Made Majors:1,404-58.9%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 407
10+ Seasons in the Minors:245-X
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