Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez may become the latest professional baseball player to miss playing time due to a freak accident.
Rodriguez, 32, may miss his scheduled spring training debut due to a close encounter with a cactus on Tuesday, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel beat writer Tom Haudricourt reports. “K-Rod” reportedly stepped on the cactus with a bare foot.
“They took out a lot of the thorns, but there’s still some in there,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told the newspaper. “I don’t think it’s that big of a setback, but I imagine he’s pretty sore today. You know how little some of the thorns are, and they break off in there. So, I don’t know. But that’s what’s going on.”
The cactus-related injury is just the latest setback for Rodriguez, whose arrival to the Brewers’ spring training facility was delayed by complications with his work visa. (He is from Venezuela.) Still, he’s expected to be a major part of the team’s bullpen this season, and it’s possible that he’ll still appear in Thursday’s spring training game as originally scheduled.
“He may still say he wants to pitch [on Thursday],” Roenicke added. It’ll be tough to keep him back, the way he is. I just have to talk to him and see how he’s doing.”
Many MLB teams train in Arizona in the spring because it’s rarely affected by lingering bad weather. However, as Rodriguez learned, a local cactus population can be just as debilitating as a snowstorm.
“K-Rod” isn’t the first major leaguer to suffer a non-baseball injury this spring. Earlier this month, Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy nearly severed his finger with a fishing knife, forcing him to miss several days of practice, Deadspin reported.