Sportress of Blogitude

Brewers’ Francisco Rodriguez still plucking cactus spines out of his foot, keeps pitching


Last week it was reported that Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez became yet another casualty of the “Bizarre Major League Baseball Player Injury” pantheon when it was learned that his spring training debut was being pushed back due to an injury suffered when he stepped on a cactus while walking barefoot.

Rodriguez bravely dealt with the pain and has pitched impressively in two appearances since his unfortunate encounter with the cactus. But the real kicker about it is that he is doing so despite the fact that there are several cactus needles that remain embedded in his foot.

The pitcher told reporters that he pulled out three or four dime-sized spines out of his foot on Sunday and three more on Monday. This came before Rodriguez struck out two and retired all three men he faced in an appearance against the Chicago White Sox.

Despite pulling out six to seven spines himself and Brewers physician Craig Young pulling out even more last Thursday, some spines still remain.


He took off his sock and showed reporters the bottom of his foot, which is still dotted with dozens of buried spines. As the swelling subsides in his foot, more are emerging to be plucked, but one clump in a tender area of his mid-foot continues to cause significant pain.

Asked how he was feeling, Rodriguez said, “About the same. It’s not getting any worse. It’s getting better, but I landed so hard out there, you still can feel it. I thought by now the pain should go away, but it hasn’t. You just have to be patient. The good thing is it hasn’t held me out from doing my routine and my workouts.”

A tough SOB, this guy.

Rodriguez explained last week how one manages to step on a cactus.

“I was walking around and just felt it when I stepped on it,” he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel . “As soon as I stepped on it, I went on the ground and looked at my foot and there were spines all over my foot. I just jumped on one leg (back to the house) and started pulling it out with my hand. I left a lot in there because it was too painful and my foot swelled up.

“The next day (an off day), I tried to take some more out and I couldn’t because it was too swollen so I couldn’t see the spines. I couldn’t even put my foot on the ground and that’s when I called the trainers and told them what happened. If I have my foot in the air, it doesn’t bother me at all. But as soon as I hit something, I can feel the pain right away.”

Yamma hamma. That does not sound like a pleasant experience in the least. Despite the painstaking aspects of the injury itself, not to mention having to extract cactus spines from one’s foot, the biggest pain Rodriguez claims to be suffering from is the grief being inflicted upon him by his teammates.

“Oh yeah, I’ve heard plenty already,” he said. “There’s still more to come.”