11/01/2011 12:28 PM ET
Sean Rodriguez: Versatility a plus
Rays do-everything player hopes to play pitcher, catcher
I don't think there's a position on the field that I can't or won't play. I have no problem doing what needs to be done. It's a matter of can it be done, and I believe that I can do it.
I think a lot of the reluctance to playing multiple positions has to do with the fear of playing a position to which you are not accustomed. For example, in catching there is the fear of being back there and waiting for that pitch in the dirt. Calling a game is different. That's much harder, but I think I can do it if needed.
I've played seven of the nine positions on the field in my career. I haven't pitched or caught a game yet. I'm hoping that I get a chance to do both. I wouldn't mind getting an inning or two at both spots. I don't need a whole game, or even to start at either of those positions. I just want to complete my resume.
When people ask me what my natural position is I always tell them the outfield. Playing in high school, I was pretty much a center fielder until my senior year. That's where I feel most comfortable and most at ease. Everything seems to come very naturally to me when I'm out there, although I feel the same way when I'm in the middle infield.
During my senior year of high school, I switched from center field to the middle infield. I had heard from different people that I would project higher in the draft as an infielder. I think I have some good speed, but the Major Leagues feature guys in center field who can fly. I decided to take their advice and go for the change. Apparently, it worked.
Coming up through the Angels' Minor League system, I primarily played shortstop. I had one manager who liked to mix up my positions, which I like a lot. It was mostly shortstop, though.
I have a different glove for almost every position. I have one for short and second, one for third, one for first and one for the outfield. I even have a catcher's mitt, just in case.
I think having this versatility will allow me to extend my career. I was once told by someone that using your bat will get you a lot of money, but using your glove will get you a lot of years up here. Most guys are only going to hit for so long. If you can pick it, you can always find a job somewhere. I'm just happy and lucky to be where I am today. I couldn't ask for anything more. Of course, I would like to play every day, but I'm 30, still playing and extremely blessed.
There are a lot of guys in the big leagues who bring versatility. Elliot Johnson is a guy who can play infield and outfield very well. Mike McCoy is another one of those guys. He plays both areas very well. Not every team has a guy like that. Most teams carry extra infielders and outfielders.
Chone Figgins is a guy who I got to see a lot when I was coming up in the system. I used to think of him as one of those guys, but now I'm so used to seeing him at third base I don't always associate him in that category. Watching him play and how he made adjustments at each position was great, and I learned a lot from him in that regard.
Sean Rodriguez played in a career-high 131 games in his second season with the Rays in 2011. The Miami native broke in with the Angels in 2008.