ANAHEIM — This is a new situation for Fernando Rodney. Though he’s racked up 325 saves over 16 big league seasons, Rodney won’t be closing games for the A’s. Heck, he might not even pitch in the eighth or seventh inning. And that’s fine with him.
Rodney will gladly sacrifice not being a closer with the A’s for a chance to pitch in the postseason for the fifth time in his career, something that was impossible with the dead in the water Minnesota Twins. Like most contributors on this surprise A’s squad that finds itself in the lead for the second American League wild card spot, he just wants help out however he can.
“Whatever role they give me I’m gonna try to do my job to help the team win,” Rodney said. “I’ve been closing in the past, but the situation for me right now is not about when I’m gonna pitch, just try to help this team get to the postseason.”
The right-hander was a bit surprised to learn of the trade, which he didn’t find out about until Thursday night after the Twins lost to the Cleveland Indians. Rodney had figured since the rumors that swirled near the trade deadline never came to fruition that he would stick around with Minnesota the rest of the season.
Get Oakland Athletics news in your inbox. Sign up now for the free Athletics HQ newsletter.
But it was a good surprise. Rodney has kept an eye on the club from afar, aware of the noise they’ve been making as the best club in baseball since June 16 with a record of 34-11.
“They’ve got a lot of energy, they’re hungry and they want to win,” Rodney said. “It’s a good team. The way they play baseball right now, they’re dangerous. Nobody in this division wants to play the A’s.”
Now on his 10th different club, it’s no surprise Rodney, 41, has played with a few guys on this team. He played with Edwin Jackson in Detroit and Ryan Buchter in San Diego.
Another guy he played with was Jeurys Familia, another bullpen upgrade the A’s acquired last month. The two played together in the 2017 World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic national team.
Familia said Dominicans are very prideful about seeing other fellow countrymen have success in the big leagues. 13 years younger than the newest A’s pitcher, Familia said he was starstruck when he first shared the clubhouse with Rodney in the WBC. Familia considers Rodney a legend and said he will definitely use the veteran as a resource whenever he needs advice.
“When you have a guy like him who’s been around for so long, it’s good for us younger guys to be able to go to him for help,” Familia said. “Ask questions and not be afraid. I think he’s gonna be a monumental help for us both in the clubhouse and in games.”
Though he’s not expected to pitch in the back end much, A’s manager Bob Melvin said Rodney could see some …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports