BRADENTON -- After spending the last five seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Sean Rodriguez left the Florida sunshine for the National League contending Pittsburgh Pirates. The offseason acquisition of the Bucs sat down with the Herald for this edition of Five Questions.
Here's what Rodriguez had to say about life away from the diamond and the toughest pitcher he's faced in his career so far:
Q: If you didn't play professional baseball, what would you like to be doing?
A: "I like being handy around the house, so maybe I'd be working at Home Depot, some lumber yard or something like that. My grandfather has been a carpenter his whole life. ... I enjoy it."
Q: What do you like to do away from the diamond and why do you like it so much?
A: "Fishing. I like to fish. I'm not the best at it, but I definitely enjoy it. ... It's relaxing. Essentially, you are going in blind. You know what the fish are like or what they might bite on and stuff like that. But you are basically trying to lure them in with your lure and basically hook them. It's just that whole process."
Q: Which do you prefer: freshwater fishing or deep sea fishing, and why?
A: "Out on a boat, it's a whole other world. It's nice. It gives, I don't know, a sense of calmness comes over me anytime I'm on a boat. Especially, when it's not too choppy."
Q: What's the biggest adjustment going from the American League to the National League for you?
A: "Just being ready to hit sooner. Coming off the bench, just knowing it could be in the fifth. Watching the pitcher's pitch count, which is something I actually did in the American League just because I like to see whether or not I'm going to get some action. ... But knowing our pitcher's pitch count more now just for that reason, you can pinch hit in the fifth or so. I'd say that's definitely the big adjustment. And the double switches are going to be more in play. But that's something (former Rays manager) Joe Maddon did all the time anyway."
Q: Who is the toughest pitcher you've faced and why?
A: "(Chicago White Sox ace) Chris Sale's been very tough. Need to figure something out on him. ... With him, he's just so, obviously, very loose with his delivery. Very erratic and everything. For me, his arm angle and I guess the release point of his ball is very unpredictable, one. Two, it's different. It changes from pitch to pitch. He might throw one from here, then come from here. So as soon as you see a different pitch, then all of a sudden, bam, it's still the same pitch. So yeah, I just haven't really been able to pick up that much on him. ... He's definitely got my number, but eventually I'll figure him out. He's in the American League, so I don't got to worry about him too much right now."