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Strong second half earns Rodriguez callup

Strong second half earns Rodriguez callup

BALTIMORE -- Only one of the Reds' 10 September callups was summoned from Double-A Pensacola, and at 22, outfielder Yorman Rodriguez is now the youngest player in the big league clubhouse. The organization felt that Rodriguez, Cincinnati's 12th-ranked prospect according to MLB.com, earned his promotion with strong second-half numbers.

"He's been hitting for a better average, more consistent at the plate," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Tuesday. "He's been showing some power and showing some of the skills we have seen periodically. Now he's showing it with more consistency.

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"He went through some tough times, like a lot of their players did in the first part of that Double-A season, when their hitters really scuffled. He's one of those guys whose numbers aren't off the charts but if you look at the second half, they're a lot closer to the numbers that warrant a promotion or a September look than his overall body of work statistically."

Rodriguez was signed out of Venezuela in 2008 as a 16-year-old for a then-record $2.5 million. This season, he batted .262/.331/.389 with nine home runs, 40 RBIs, 47 walks and 117 strikeouts over 119 games for Pensacola.

"They said, 'Are you ready to go up?' I said, 'Oh man, thank you for that,'" said Rodriguez, who turned 22 on Aug. 15.

In 51 first-half games, Rodriguez batted .224 with two homers and 14 RBIs before improving to .291 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 68 second-half games. He arrives to the big leagues on a roll of sorts after batting .294 with four homers and 12 RBIs before the promotion. He also drew 20 walks -- nearly half his season total -- compared to 29 strikeouts in a sign he's become more selective.

"If I saw a ball, I wouldn't swing. My second half, I looked for a good pitch every time," Rodriguez said. "In the second half, if I saw a ball inside, I didn't swing. I swung middle-away every time."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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