Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Fernando Rodney not happy in role
By Mark Saxon
OAKLAND -- What happened to Fernando Rodney, the Angels reliever who has -- step by step -- sunk as far as a reliever can go while still retaining a uniform?
He began this season as the Angels closer, was demoted after four outings to the setup man and, now, struggles to get outs in blowouts. He has walked 28 batters in 32 innings, the highest pace of his career.
According to Rodney, losing the faith of manager Mike Scioscia and getting sporadic work have affected his performance. He said he never understood why he was replaced by Jordan Walden as the closer so early in the season.
"Four games ... In 162 games, that's not a lot," Rodney said. "Look around baseball. A lot of teams have problems with their closers. St. Louis, Kansas City, the Chicago White Sox. They get more chances. I've walked too many guys, but I know I can do my job. I feel good."
Rodney is 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA. Opponents have batted just .224 against him, but the high walk totals and issues in high-leverage situations cost him Scioscia's trust.
"His fastball command has been poor, not just with location but even getting it over the plate," Scioscia said. "He's throwing it very hard. At times, he's maybe tried to overthrow it a little bit. Fernando's stuff is still there. It's just a matter of getting it over the plate early enough to use all his pitches.
"We certainly haven't given up on him, but right now, you have to hold leads and we've been going with Bobby [Cassevah], Scott [Downs] and Jordan, because their production is much better."
Rodney, a free agent after this season, said he would like to go somewhere he can get more regular work. He has pitched just twice this month, including Monday night when he had struggle mopping up an inning with the Angels trailing 6-2.
"I'm a relief pitcher. My whole career, I'm pitching every day or every two or three days," Rodney said. "I can't get comfortable."