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Nivaldo Rodriguez: Playing for Venezuela in U-23 World Cup "a key to my MLB success"

Nivaldo Rodriguez: Playing for Venezuela in U-23 World Cup "a key to my MLB success"
01/09/2020
The Houston Astros right-handed reliever started the third-place game of the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup 2018.

Nivaldo Rodriguez, a right-handed reliever for the Houston Astros, believes playing on the Venezuelan National Team at the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup 2018 gave him "the confidence" he needs to perform at the Major League Baseball (MLB) level.

"Having played in the U-23 World Cup, defending the colours of your flag is something you mainly do out of pride for what you are representing," said Rodriguez through the official website of the Venezuelan Baseball Federation (FEVEBEISBOL).

Rodriguez was a key member of Venezuela's pitching staff during the U-23 Baseball World Cup. He appeared in three games, two as a starter, and didn't allow a run over 11 innings pitched.

He started the bronze medal game against Korea and left after allowing only a hit and three walks, while striking out five, over five innings. Rodriguez left with a no-decision and five relievers, contributing to the 5-4 win that gave Venezuela their first-ever medal in the U-23 category.

Rodriguez was born in 1997 in Naguanagua, a municipality in the metropolitan city of Valencia. He spent four years in the minor leagues (2016-2019; 58 games, 29 as a starter) before making his MLB debut on 28 July against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Related article: Federation Focus on Venezuela