Spring training has come and gone, but the majority of the San Diego Padres organization remains in Peoria, Arizona with minor league camp. That includes former Franklin High School standout Fernando ‘Fernie‘ Rodriguez, who signed with the Padres in January.
Fernie, 34, is one of the only veteran players in minor league camp with the Padres.
El Paso Proud: Former Montwood High School standout Joe Galindo (@Bigjoe_27) and Franklin High School alum Fernie Rodriguez are both at #PadresST. Rodriguez is working his way back to the big leagues, while Galindo is quickly rising through the farm system. #KTSM9Sports pic.twitter.com/s7kxPjMSWU— Andy Morgan (@AndyMorganTV) March 13, 2019
“Some of the guys out here are 16, 17-years old,“ said Fernie. “There’s a few jokes going around the clubhouse right now. I think one of the guys that is in my group was a year old in my first professional season.“
Fernie made his Major League debut in 2009 with the Angels organization. He has also played in the big leagues with the Astros and the Athletics, throwing for over 230 innings in his career. However, injuries wiped out 2017 and 2018 for the El Paso native and now he finds himself working his way back to the big leagues.
“It’s always difficult to come into a new organization and take a spot on the big league team,“ said Fernie. “I’m still learning some of the coaches names around here and I’m sure they are getting to know me.“
One of those coaches is El Paso Chihuahuas manager Edwin Rodriguez. Rodriguez has followed Fernie’s career over the years and would love nothing more than for him to play in El Paso. Fernie would become the first El Pasoan on the Chihuahuas’ roster in team history.
El Paso’s own Fernando Rodriguez Jr. is pitching for the Padres in spring training. If he’s assigned to AAA, he’d become the first El Pasoan to play for the Chihuahuas. https://t.co/FMky71vcXY— Tim Hagerty (@tdhagerty) March 18, 2019
“He has a very good arm,“ said Rodriguez. “The pitch ability is good, he has a strong body, he’s a good athlete, and if he ends up playing for El Paso, I’m sure we are going to have a good time there.“
This has been part of Fernie’s plan all along.
“I pushed it. It’s almost a joke, I pushed for it. I had all my cards in,“ said Fernie. “I told them I wanted to be a part of the organization. First of all, they’ve done some really nice things with their relievers, I’ve noticed. At the same time, El Paso. It’s being able to have the chance to go play at home.“
Opening Day at Southwest University Park is Thursday, April 4.