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Double-A Bowie's Eduardo Rodriguez returns from DL with five strong innings

Orioles left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez returned to action Thursday with five strong innings for Double-A Bowie.

Rodriguez, 21, allowed one run and two hits with a pair of strikeouts and two walks. He had previously spent more than a month on the disabled list with a knee sprain, and improved his ERA to 5.57 with the outing.

Rodriguez left with the game against Erie tied, 1-1, so he was not eligible for a decision.

He threw exclusively fastballs in a 14-pitch first inning, sitting between 92-93 mph and consistently keeping the ball away and down in the zone. Rodriguez gave up a one-out double in the second to Erie catcher Ramon Cabrera, who scored two batters later when Steven Moya pulled an inside fastball to right field for a base hit.

But that would be the only damage of the day against Rodriguez, who issued a leadoff walk in the fourth and a two-out walk in his final inning, when he appeared to be tiring.

Rodriguez showed some new wrinkles to his arsenal coming of the DL stint, including slower variations of his breaking ball. The pitch typically sat 81-84 mph last year, but it was slower at times this outing. That could be chalked up to fatigue, given his long layoff, but it could also add a different dimension to Rodriguez's arsenal.

Rodriguez's changeup sat in the mid-80s as usual, and though his fastball slowed to 89-90 mph later in the outing, he was able to pitch through the fatigue to get through five innings. He was relieved by hard-throwing right-hander Fabio Castillo.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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