Braves sign strikeout leader from Mexican League

Braves sign strikeout leader from Mexican League

ATLANTA -- The Braves announced Friday they signed left-hander Daniel Rodriguez to a Minor League contract. Rodriguez, 27, has pitched for seven years with Saltillo in the Mexican League.

Rodriguez threw a bullpen session at Turner Field on Friday. He will return to Mexico briefly to get his work visa and then report to Triple-A Gwinnett.

General manager Frank Wren said Rodriguez is a classic lefty, throwing a sinker in the low 90s with what Wren characterized as a "very good" curveball. Rodriguez led the Mexican League in strikeouts in each of the last two seasons, but Wren said he is more of a ground-ball pitcher with a 2-to-1 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio.

"He sinks the ball well and his strikeout pitch is his curveball," Wren said.

Rodriguez went 11-5 with a 2.54 ERA and struck out 135 batters in 117 innings this season. He struck out 118 batters in 125 innings in 2011.

Wren said Rodriguez will likely open the 2013 season in Gwinnett's starting rotation and could be in a position for a callup later in the year if he performs well.

"He's a guy that our international guys have been watching all summer and have had interest in," Wren said. "He's had very good statistics down there and we like his stuff."