Long and winding road finally ends: Rangers call up veteran Rodriguez

ARLINGTON, Texas – As bad as things have gone for the Texas Rangers it’s always nice when you can add a feel-good element to the game.

Guilder Rodriguez is that element for the Rangers.

Texas promoted Rodriguez, 31, Sunday. Rodriguez led all players with 1,095 games played in the minors without any major-league experience. That’s not the case anymore though for Rodriguez, who had played 14 minor-league seasons including the last six for the Rangers.

"This is very exciting for me," said Rodriguez, an infielder who has bounced between Double-A and Triple-A each of the last five seasons. "When you sign in professional baseball every player when he signs the goal is to play in the big leagues. Not too many people have this opportunity and I’ve waited for 14 years for this opportunity."

Rodriguez began his professional career in 2001 with Milwaukee when he was 18. He didn’t get his first Triple-A chance until he joined the Rangers.

While Sunday marks his first game in the majors, his impact has been felt in the clubhouse already. Young players like Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas learned the ropes in the minors playing alongside Rodriguez.

That played a role in the decision for the Rangers to promote Rodriguez, who hit .269 for Frisco.

"He’s just a true professional," Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar said. "He’s basically a player-coach. He’s a really good influence on the younger Latin players. Fourteen years of service doing everything the right way it’s the right thing to do for a kid that’s probably nearing the end of his career, especially with the season we’ve had to endure this year."

Bogar said the club does plan to get Rodriguez into the starting lineup in a game alongside Odor and Sardinas, but he won’t say when because he wants it to be a surprise.

"I’ve been with like 80 percent of this whole team," said Rodriguez. "It’s been fun with these guys and I’ll try and help this team and have a good time here in the clubhouse."