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Cuba's Yariel Rodriguez earns first NPB win

Cuba's Yariel Rodriguez earns first NPB win
The right-hander went seven innings for the Chunichi Dragons in a 7-4 win against the Yomiuri Giants

Cuban right-hander Yariel Rodriguez earned on Saturday, 15 August, his first win in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

The 23-year old pitcher allowed only one run over seven innings of work as the Chunichi Dragons defeated the Yomiuri Giants, 7-4.

Rodriguez needed 105 pitches, 64 were strikes, to complete the task. He struck out nine and allowed six hits and one walk.

"My fastball was pretty good," commented Rodriguez after he understood he had topped 156 KM (97 miles) per hour. Scouts were also impressed by his off-the-table slider.

Manager Tsuyoshi Yoda, who as a player earned Rookie of the Year honours in 1990 while performing as the Dragons' closer, congratulated Rodriguez. "He gave us seven strong innings. Our bullpen was ready, but we trusted him and never panicked."

Rodriguez appeared in 18 games, 15 as a starter, for Camaguey in Cuba's Serie Nacional 2019-2020. He had a 7-6 record and a 4.88 Earned Run Average. He struck out 93 batters and allowed 91 hits, while walking 54.

He made Cuba's roster for the WBSC Premier12 2019 and appeared in two games: against Canada and Korea.

Rodriguez moved to Japan on a development contract and was called up to the Major club after dominating in 17.2 innings of work with the farm team.

The Chunichi Dragons are based in Nagoya and they trail the first place Yomiuri Giants by 7.5 games in NPB's Central League.

Cover picture courtesy of Chunichi Dragons Twitter

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