Give Eddy Rodriguez a day off, and you won’t find him on the couch, playing “Call of Duty” or “Major League Baseball 2k13” on his Xbox 360.
He’d rather get on a boat and cast a line.
“Some guys like hunting, some guys enjoy video games, but I’m a little different on that,” said Rodriguez, a Tucson Padres catcher, before Tucson’s game against Tacoma at Kino Stadium on Saturday night
“A perfect day for me is just being able to go out on the water, and fish.
“I just feel that fresh air coming off the water and it revitalizes me, it gives me strength and a center to always come back to.”
Miles Mikolas, Tucson’s closer, is the same way.
“You go on the water, and its quiet, it’s a little bit of freedom, and it’s a good getaway,” said Mikolas, who’s saved 24 games for the Padres this season. “It’s a little bit of freedom, it’s a good getaway.”
Together, they share a bond as the team’s resident fishermen.
Mikolas got his start at 8 years old, when his family moved to Florida.
For Rodriguez, it was hard not to gravitate toward fishing.
“Where I was born in Cuba,” he said, “a river was right behind me, so since I was probably a year old it’s been in my DNA to be on the water.”
Now 27, Rodriguez sometimes competes in some fishing tournaments and during the offseason back home in Florida, he likes to isolate himself, take his boat out to the Everglades National Park about 2-3 times a week.
In a long minor-league baseball season, though, there’s not many off days — only one or two per month, so there isn’t too much time for fishing.
Rodriguez started the season in Double-A San Antonio, where there are some good spots for fishing, but the pickings are slim in the Old Pueblo on that front. So once he was called up to Triple-A Tucson on July 7, his time spent fishing dwindled.
But, when the Padres were out in Nashville for a four-game series, Mikolas broached the idea of chartering a bass guide in a local lake. Early in the morning before the Padres’ last series game against Nashville earlier this month, Mikolas, Rodriguez and fishing first-timer Brad Boxberger, a relief pitcher, got their “getaway.”
The final “fish caught” tally was: Mikolas with three, Boxberger two and Rodriguez one.
“Eddy caught a nice bass, but I caught the most fish, obviously,” said Mikolas, laughing. “But it was fun.”
“Since I’ve given Miles some of my knowledge,” added a smiling Rodriguez, “I think he’s become at least average.”