Rodriguez allowed two runs and seven hits over five innings in a 6-2 victory at Florida in his season debut for Texas on Sunday.
The 27-year old right-hander went 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA in five appearances, including four starts, for the Rangers last year before suffering a fractured right elbow in July that ended his season.
Rodriguez failed to make the team during spring training, but after a solid stretch at Triple-A Oklahoma—7-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts—he’s getting another chance to land a steady role on the Texas staff.
“I wasn’t nervous, I was excited. I had nice adrenaline,” said Rodriguez, who has a 9-12 career mark. “But after that I had to calm myself down. That’s the only way I could keep myself in the game as long as possible.”
Texas won Friday’s series opener 8-1 as Hank Blalock had a solo homer and two RBI singles.
The NL East-leading Nationals suffered only their third loss in 18 games.
Washington’s Tony Armas will be looking to post a career high-tying third straight win when he faces the Rangers on Saturday. He has won consecutive starts for the first time in the same season since September 2002, when he won three in a row.
Armas battled his way through five scoreless innings in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Seattle. He allowed five hits and walked three with six strikeouts. He never had a 1-2-3 inning and needed 90 pitches just to get the first 12 outs. He left after throwing 107.
“That was, I guess, the glue that held us together—him giving us that effort today,” Washington manager Frank Robinson said.