San Francisco Giants Prospect Makes Splash in Arizona League

GoBears 2008Analyst IJune 22, 2009

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  A San Francisco Giants fan Dan Cohn (L) wearing a 'Beat LA' t-shirt waits for the start of a spring taining game against Los Angeles Dodgers at Scottsdale Stadium on February 26, 2009 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Rafael Rodriguez, the Dominican outfielder signed last July by San Francisco for a franchise-record $2.55 million, played in his first Arizona League game on Sunday.

Rodriguez recorded only one hit in six plate appearances, an RBI single in his first at-bat, but showed his skill in other areas.

In the bottom of the first inning, he prevented a one-out, runner-at-third situation for his pitcher by recording an outfield assist. Then, after reaching on a fielder's choice in the 10th, Rodriguez recorded his first career stolen base.

The 6'5" prospect, who will turn seventeen in July and is the youngest player on the AZL Giants' roster, also made some mistakes. He was caught stealing after his only hit, and was thrown out at home trying to score the go-ahead run from second on a single in the 10th inning.

But after all, it was only a rookie league game.

Second-baseman Julio Izturis, a 2006 signee from Venezuela, also made his U.S. debut for the Giants, collecting four hits (including a double) and a run in seven at-bats in the lead-off slot. He also stole two bases.

Izturis is a full brother of Major Leaguers Maicer Izturis (Angels) and half-brother Cesar Izturis (Orioles), both of whom play the infield.

The starting pitcher for the AZL Giants was a name familiar to fans of San Francisco's big league club. Joe Martinez, who was lucky to escape serious injury when he was struck in the head with a line drive in April, started the game in a rehab assignment.

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Martinez allowed three earned runs in 2 2/3 innings of work.