The Return of Pudge Rodriguez

By Frank Heinz
|  Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009  |  Updated 8:35 PM CDT
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"It's His Number I Was Just Borrowing It" Murphy

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"Good Fans and Good Team" Pudge Rodriguez

Back with the Rangers and already in the lineup, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez talks about being back in North Texas.

"He Has Tons of Energy When He Plays" Young

Texas Ranges 3rd baseman Michael Young on the return of Pudge Rodriguez to the Rangers lineup.
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It's official. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez is returning to Arlington. 

Though the now former Houston Astros catcher will be in a backup role with the Rangers, The move is likely to please nostalgic Rangers fans who were disappointed to see the legendary catcher leave the team in 2002.  

The Astros will receive a Minor League player and a player to be named later in trade for Rodriguez, the team said Tuesday.

Despite the great performance by minor league catcher Kevin Richardson on Monday night, the team needs stability and experience behind the plate heading into a pennant/wild card race in the American League.  With starting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia's return date uncertain -- he is on the 15-day disabled list with a sore arm -- another catcher is needed to backup current starter Taylor Teagarden.

Fans gave him a big ovation Tuesday night when he brought the lineup card to home plate before the game.

Pudge, 37, is the best catcher in team history, arguably one of the best ever, and was on the teams roster the last time they made the playoffs in 1999. He is a 14-time All-Star and a 13-time Gold Glove winner.

Since leaving Texas as a free agent in 2002, Pudge he has been a bit of a journeyman.  He has had stints with Florida, Detroit, the hated Yankees and finally with the Astros. During his one-year stint in Florida, Pudge helped the Marlins win their second World Series.

So far this season, Pudge is hitting .251 with eight home runs. He has played in 93 of 118 games this season.  In his last season with the Rangers, Pudge hit .314 with 19 home runs. In his best year, he hit 35 home runs -- which was also the last time the Rangers visited the post-season.

Welcome back, Pudge.

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