CLEVELAND -- For Fernando Rodriguez, his successful return from Tommy John surgery is definitely a journey and not a destination.
Rodriguez notched two innings of scoreless relief in Friday's win, walking one and striking out two. It was the second time Rodriguez had pitched since his callup on May 9, and it was something else to push him forward.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said the A's might try to use Rodriguez on Sunday in the series finale, and Rodriguez's longest outing since before missing the 2013 season in recovery had no ill effects the day after.
"I feel pretty good today," Rodriguez said. "I thought I was going to be more sore or tired or even cranky when I woke up, but I guess my body, the more I throw, the more it reacts to the next day of actually being ready."
Being healthy is one thing, but the burly righty seems to have done more than recover during his season away from baseball.
"For whatever reason, it looks like he's got more plane to his pitches," Melvin said. "It's not like he's grown, but it seems like he's hitting the bottom of the zone. As tall as he is, the ball doesn't stay in the zone very long.
"On top of that, it's mid-90s, throwing a little bit of a cutter now to go along with a curveball and a changeup, so he's got the repertoire to do it, but he's also got the quality fastball that he can get by with when he's behind in the count."
For Rodriguez, the work continues to change, which is a reflection of him achieving his goals. Initially, he wanted to get healthy, then he wanted another shot to get back to the Majors.
When Oakland called him up from Triple-A Sacramento on May 9, Rodriguez got right to work, throwing a scoreless inning. The A's don't plan to pitch Rodriguez on consecutive days just yet, so he still has other goals on the horizon.
"Now we're not just thinking, 'bring me back.' We're making sure I am ready for those 160-some games we have to play," Rodriguez said. "In the weight room, I was doing three sets of everything, and now it's two because I have to be ready to pitch."
Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less