HOUSTON -- Looking out of uniform to local media and fans, and to his former teammates, Wandy Rodriguez strolled across Minute Maid Park after a throwing session in the visitor's bullpen. It may understandably be a "hard situation for me, very strange," but the newest member of the Pirates did not misplace his "we." "I'll try to help this team -- they're playing very good now. We need to make the playoffs," Rodriguez said midway through his first afternoon in the Bucs' No. 51 uniform. "That's why they picked me up. They want to play in the playoffs, so I'll do the best I can."
His first chance at that comes Saturday night, when he'll face the Astros and their starter ... well, we don't yet know who that will be, since Houston has to fill the rotation spot formerly occupied by Rodriguez. The longtime subject of trade rumors, Rodriguez was happy that when a deal went down, it was with the Pirates. "They kept trying to trade me, but I didn't know where I was going. Then they told me Pittsburgh, and I felt good," Rodriguez said. "I'll try to help these guys." Rodriguez will be of considerable help to the newest guy. He and Starling Marte, who made his Major League debut Thursday night, become the only two natives of the Dominican Republic on the Bucs' roster. "I'm happy to have another Dominican in the clubhouse," Marte said. "He's a veteran guy and I hope to be able to pick his brain. He can lead me in the right direction."