DAYTON — The Dayton Dragons will begin the second half of the 2012 season with two big names in the lineup.
All Cincinnati Reds fans know the name of center fielder Drew Stubbs, who will begin a rehab stint tonight in Dayton. Fans may soon know the name — if they don’t already — of outfielder Yorman Rodriguez, who was signed four years ago as a highly-touted 16-year-old prospect out of Venezuela.
Dayton hosts Bowling Green at 7 tonight at Fifth Third Field. The Dragons finished the first half 30-40 in last place in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division.
“There’s a lot of baseball left to play,” Dragons manager Delino DeShields said. “I think the break was good for us. We all needed the time off. I liked the way we ended the second half. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”
Last year, the Dragons went 35-35 in the first half and 48-22 in the second half.
“That’s the beauty of the level we’re at,” DeShields said. “You can come out in the second half and forget everything that happened and keep building.”
Stubbs, who spent the entire 2007 season with the Dragons, has been out of the Reds lineup since June 5 when he strained his left oblique muscle while swinging. He was hitting .235 with seven home runs, 18 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.
DeShields said Stubbs will be in Dayton for the three-game weekend series, but he didn’t know Thursday afternoon where he would hit or whether he would play the field.
Rodriguez hit .254 in Dayton last season. He hit .156 in Bakersfield this season before being sent back to extended spring training.
He was given one of the largest free-agent signing bonuses in team history in 2008, $2,500,000.
“He’s still a prospect,” DeShields said. “He just has to put it together. His ability, the physical side of the game has never been an issue. It’s just him maturing as a player and as a young man. It seems like he’s turning the corner. He’s growing a lot. His attitude’s been great, from what I’ve heard.”