PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — The Seattle Mariners have their new closer.
Fernando Rodney took part in Seattle’s first workout for pitchers and catchers Thursday, soon after the reliever signed a two-year contract worth $14 million.
Rodney reported to spring training on Wednesday and passed his physical, clearing the way for the Mariners to add him to their 40-man roster and announce his contract.
“It feels good to be here,” Rodney said. “You guys know my situation. I just try to come in and close the game. I think we have the right guys here.”
The 36-year-old Rodney was 5-4 with 37 saves and a 3.38 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. He ranked second in the American League in saves and ERA over the past two seasons, with a combined 85 saves and a 1.91 ERA.
The Dominican right-hander said three other teams were interested in signing him — Baltimore, the New York Mets and Cleveland. Rodney has a history with Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, who was the bullpen coach in Detroit when Rodney played for the Tigers.
Rodney said he wasn’t surprised that it took until February for him to sign with a team.
“I think I got the right (timing) and the right organization,” Rodney said. “They were more interested in me, that’s why I’m here.”
Tom Wilhelmsen and Danny Farquhar were last season’s closers for Seattle. They combined for 40 saves, with Farquhar replacing the struggling Wilhelmsen in early August.
“We’re extremely happy to have him and he certainly solidifies the back end of our bullpen,” McClendon said.
Rodney is known for the way he wears his cap, the bill tilted to one side, and his save celebration in which he shoots an imaginary arrow into the sky.
“Great character. The fans in Seattle are going to love him,” McClendon said.
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