Pirates part ways with Rodriguez

Wandy Rodriguez

The Pirates have designated left-hander Wandy Rodriguez for assignment, the team announced. The move clears a roster spot for catcher Russell Martin, who was activated off the 15-day DL.

At $7.5 million, Rodriguez was the Pittsburgh's second highest paid player behind Martin ($9.5 million) and just ahead of Andrew McCutchen ($7.4 million). The Astros are paying $5.5 million of his $13 million salary. He is the third highest paid player on Houston's payroll this year.

Rodriguez, 35, had a 6.75 ERA with a 1.69 WHIP in six starts and 26 2/3 innings this year. He somehow allowed 10 homers during that time. Wandy had a 3.59 ERA in 62 2/3 innings just last season.

"The stuff, the command, the ability to get major league hitters out just wasn't where we felt it needed to be compared to the other options that we have," Pirates' GM Neal Huntington said. "I think he recognizes that we felt like we needed to make a move. It's not been the quality that Wandy is used to. The velocity is down a tick. The breaking ball is down a tick. The changeup doesn't have the same confidence in it. He recognizes we've got some pretty good arms that are waiting for their turn."

Because of his salary, Rodriguez will surely go unclaimed on waivers and be released. The Pirates (and Astros) will still owe him his full salary, but any other team can sign him for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum.

Huntington said Rodriguez's spot in the rotation will be filled by Brandon Cumpton or former all-star Jeff Locke, both of whom are pitching well for Class AAA Indianapolis.

The Pirates activated Martin from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday.

The 31-year-old backstop sustained a strained hamstring in a 1-0 Pirates' loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on April 25.

Prior to his stint on the disabled list, Martin was hitting .242 with two home runs and 11 RBI over 16 games this season.

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