Rodriguez's debut adds to good fortune
Second sacker's first big league start feather in already full cap
ANAHEIM -- Sean Rodriguez kept interrupting himself, feeling the urge to interject a pertinent thought on his first day as a Major League baseball player.
"I can't stop thanking God," Rodriguez said. "He keeps blessing me."
Recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill a role with second baseman Howie Kendrick forced to the 15-day disabled list by a strained left hamstring, Rodriguez found his name on manager Mike Scioscia's lineup card on Saturday night against the Mariners at Angel Stadium.
It was the continuation of a remarkable run of good fortune for Rodriguez that began on Feb. 7, in Mesa, Ariz., when wife Giselle gave birth to their daughter, Sofia Emma, about four weeks before the baby's scheduled arrival.
"We had come to Arizona early [from their home in Miami], to be ready [for Spring Training]," Rodriguez said. "I was with her. She was sleeping. She woke up and was feeling bad pains. We got to the hospital, the doctor checked her, and said it was time."
Mother and baby are doing fine, and Daddy has been celebrating on a regular basis with some thunderous hitting and quality play at second base.
Rodriguez, who turns 23 on April 26, is batting .333 through 13 games at Salt Lake with four homers and 11 RBIs. A natural shortstop making the shift across the bag, he is errorless in 10 games at second base and two in the outfield.
"What impresses about Sean is he is a baseball player," Scioscia said. "You can see it from Day 1, the way he's developed. He's a student of the game who has worked extremely hard on things he needs to improve on.
"He played shortstop last year [at Double-A Arkansas], and [roving infield instructor] Rob Picciolo thought he was the best defensive shortstop in the Texas League. We switched him to second base, and he's taken to it quickly. He's not going to be intimidated by anything. He's going to play the game."
A third-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of G. Holmes Braddock High School in Miami, Rodriguez grew up in the game as the son of a coach, Johnny Rodriguez, now employed by the Marlins as batting coach for the Class A Jamestown Jammers.
As a kid, Sean -- who bears a physical resemblance to Nomar Garciaparra -- got to watch Alex Rodriguez work with his dad. That left a lasting imprint.
Sean said his first phone call when he learned of his promotion from Salt Lake manager Bobby Mitchell was to his wife, but when she didn't pick up, he dialed his father. His dad was thrilled with the news, but his mother took it to another level.
"My mom always said, `Whether you make it to the big leagues or not, you'll always been my big leaguer,'" Rodriguez said. "She started crying when I told her. She was the most excited of all."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.