KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Francisco Rodriguez anticipated the Milwaukee Brewers would trade him this month. He was startled at his final destination.
Rodriguez joined the Orioles Wednesday in Kansas City, one day after he was obtained for minor league infielder Nick Delmonico to bolster the Baltimore bullpen.
“The trade was not a surprise. The Orioles were definitely a surprise,” Rodriguez said. “There were a lot of teams linked to me, but Baltimore was not one of them. At the same time I’m happy and excited.”
Rodriguez went from a last-place club in the National League Central, 17 games below .500 and 20 games out of first, to the Orioles, who are 13 games above .500, 3 1-2 games back in the American League East and second in the wild-card standings.
Rodriguez, who the New York Mets traded to Milwaukee in July 2011, was a free agent after last year and did not re-sign with the Brewers until April 18.
“It’s been a strange year for me,” Rodriguez said. “I was at home at the beginning of the season and then the minors.”
He pitched only four innings in the minors, striking out seven and allowing one hit, before the Brewers called him up.
Rodriguez, 31, went 1-1 with 10 saves and a 1.09 ERA in 25 appearances, striking out 26 in 24 2/3 innings. He saved four games since July 3.
“I’ve only thrown 24 innings, usually by now I have 50 to 70 innings, so I’m definitely fresher,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez, who logged a Major League-record 62 saves in 2008 with the Los Angeles Angels, has 304 career saves, which ranks third among active players. Rodriguez said he had not been told what his role would be with the Orioles bullpen.
“As far as when and where I’m going to be throwing, those things work itself out,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez will likely be used as a setup to Jim Johnson, who leads the majors with 35 saves.
“He’s going to be used to come in and get outs,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We need 27 outs and they are all important.”
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)