The New York Yankees are finishing up a two-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night but added some talent to the bullpen before the start of the contest. They signed veteran Richard Rodriguez to a minor league contract after serving an 80-game suspension for PED’s.
Rodriguez was hit hard by the MLB cracking down on spider tack last season, which directly impacted his strikeout rate. It dropped from 13 strikeouts per nine in 2020 to just 5.88 in 2021. However, he will be looking to work his way up the minor league system and hopefully earn an opportunity with the big league squad, having not made an appearance in 2022.
The Yankees made a few moves in the bullpen:
On Wednesday afternoon, the Yankees announced that they had designated Ryan Weber for assignment, sending him back to Triple-A, Scranton. In his place, they elevated Miguel Castro, who was reinstated from the paternity list.
Weber has made two appearances this season, recording a 1.93 ERA over 4.2 innings. He hosts a 100% left-on base rate and 57.1% ground ball rate, utilizing two primary pitches. Weber throws an 89.2 mph sinker and 78.7 mph slider. He generates incredible movement on his pitches, but the lack of velocity allows opposing teams to figure him out quickly.
In his place, the Yankees will bring back Castro, who not only generates insane movement but also throws crazy velocity. This year, he hosts a 3.51 ERA over 25.2 innings. He’s earned a 76% left on base rate and 45.6% ground ball rate.
Castro struggled a bit in the month of June, logging a 4.09 ERA. However, his last four appearances were solid, giving up just three hits and striking out seven total batters over five innings.
Touching 98 mph on average with his sinker, Castro is a difficult pitcher to hit. His slider has been his most effective pitch this year. Opposing batters are hitting just .191 against the slider but .333 against his sinker. In fact, he’s generated 17 strikeouts with his slider, the most by a significant margin of any pitch in his repertoire.
With the starting pitching going through a bit of adversity as well, the Yankees will welcome back Castro with open arms.