Good news for Rodriguez, Paronto
Pair of Astros pitchers' health issues appear under control
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- By the end of the workday Wednesday, two Astros pitchers had breathed sighs of relief -- Chad Paronto, after discovering his shoulder injury isn't as serious as he first thought, and Wandy Rodriguez, after pitching four innings without feeling any lingering effects from a fingernail issue that hampered him in his last outing.
Against the Mets, Rodriguez allowed two hits and walked two, but did not allow a run in his longest outing of the spring. The true test arrived when he threw his curveball, a pitch that wasn't working for him last time out because he was unable to dig his fingernail into the ball as he normally would do.
This time, Rodriguez threw the curveball, and all of his other pitches, without any pain.
"I felt it a little, but I could control my curveball," Rodriguez said. "I felt it, but it wasn't bad. I need to work more because today, I missed my location a little bit. I'm going to be OK, I didn't feel any soreness."
Rodriguez is projected to fall somewhere in the middle of the Astros' rotation this year, although manager Cecil Cooper hasn't yet revealed how the remaining four will line up after Roy Oswalt. Cooper did reveal he's considering moving Rodriguez's next start up one day, to Saturday, "to line him up" for opening week.
Paronto left Monday's game with what was originally diagnosed as a right shoulder muscle strain, but after undergoing a series of strength tests the next morning, the right-hander was told he should be OK after a few days of rest. The source of the pain, according to Paronto, is isolated to where the back and shoulder meet.
"I've been playing for 13 years, and this is the first thing that's ever happened to me," Paronto said. "I don't know how to go about it."
Paronto became visibly agitated when the injury first happened, acting more out of frustration than pain.
"I was panicked," he said.
Understandably so. Paronto has had one of the better springs of all Astros relievers, and while he isn't expected to make the club out of Spring Training, he's hoping to finish the month strong. In seven appearances, Paronto has earned three earned runs over 10 innings for a 2.70 ERA.
"I've never had anything like this happen," he said. "I've never been hurt. I've been very lucky with that. Things have been going so well this spring that this isn't a good time for this to happen. You want to have a good showing, even if it's an outside shot."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.