Euclides Rojas Rodriguez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 190 lb.
Pitcher Euclides Rojas was a top reliever in Cuba and has coached in the minors and majors in the USA.
Cuban Serie Nacional
He was a star in his native Cuba until he fled the country in 1994. Through 2005, Rojas ranked as the all-time Cuban Serie Nacional leader in saves (90), 21 ahead of #2 Orestes González and 32 more than #3 Amaury Sanit. González would break his record and by the end of the 2013-2014 season, Rojas was down to 6th all-time. In 13 Series, Rojas went 59-42 with a 2.93 ERA in 365 games. Opponents hit .250 and he struck out 625 while walking 285 in 847 2/3 IP.
Rojas also pitched for the Cuban national team. In the 1988 Baseball World Cup, Rojas fanned 15 in 11 2/3 IP, allowing only one run and going 4-0. He had the 5th-lowest ERA and won the most games, one ahead of four others including Andy Benes. In the finals, he beat Benes, both having pitched in relief that day. Rojas was not named one of the tourney's All-Star pitchers, though, as Takehiro Ishii and Jim Abbott got the nod instead. He was 1-0 with one save in the 1990 Baseball World Cup, allowing 2 hits, 4 walks and six strikeouts in 7 innings as Cuba again claimed Gold. He again was the winning pitcher in the championship game, stopping the Nicaraguan national team. He helped Cuba win the 1990 Goodwill Games. He had 0.96 ERA for Cuba when they won the 1990 Central American and Caribbean Games.
Rojas had one of the few dramatic departures from Cuba that was not the result of an agent's imaginative account. He left on a leaky 15' raft with his wife and infant child. After being intercepted by the US, he spent several months in detention at Guantanamo.
Minor league career
After defecting, Rojas signed with the Florida Marlins. He pitched in 1995 for the Charlotte Knights (0-1, 3.00 in 2 games), the Portland Sea Dogs (1-1, 1 Sv, 7.77, 22 K in 22 IP) and GCL Marlins (2-0, 0.90). In 1996, Rojas allowed six runs in 9 innings for Charlotte to conclude his professional career.
He spent several seasons with the Marlins as a minor league pitching coach, including the Brevard County Manatees in 2000. After several years in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, he was the Boston Red Sox bullpen coach in 2003 and 2004. Since 2005, Rojas has been a minor league pitching instructor in the Pirates farm system and in 2011 became the big league team's bullpen coach. In July 2019, the Pirates suspended him for two games for what they termed a "contract violation" with no further explanation; this followed an earlier suspension to one of his charges, Keone Kela, for an altercation with a team employee. He was let go at the end of the season.