Tag:John Axford
Posted on: February 24, 2012 5:50 pm

K-Rod digs Milwaukee: "I want to make that clear"

PHOENIX -- Meanwhile, over in the non-Ryan Braun corner of the clubhouse Friday, former closer Francisco Rodriguez took time out from contemplating a lawsuit against his former agents to report for duty as the 2012 Brewers' set-up man.

In what could be termed as a mild surprise, Rodriguez was smiling and appeared happy. Once intending to declare free agency over the winter and find a job as a closer, K-Rod wound up discovering a tepid market and wound up accepting a one-year, $8 million deal from the Brewers.

Unhappy a year ago because he did not pitch in one save opportunity after being traded to Milwaukee on July 12, Rodriguez again is slated to pitch the eighth innings while Milwaukee closer John Axford works the ninth innings.

Though Rodriguez is contemplating a malpractice and fraud suit against former agents Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem of the Wasserman Media Group because they failed to file a no-trade provision on his behalf when he pitched for the Mets, he emphasized that he is not unhappy to be returning to Milwaukee.

"I want to make that clear," said Rodriguez, who had the Brewers listed among 10 teams he could not be traded to in the paperwork that was never filed. "Some newspapers said I did not want to come here, and that's not the point.

"Three years ago when they asked me about the list, it was not that I did not want to come to this city or this team, but the closer was Trevor Hoffman. It had nothing to do with the fact that I did not want to come to Milwaukee.

"That's true."

Because of Hoffman's presence, Rodriguez explained, he placed Milwaukee on his no-trade list because he never intended to pitch for a team on which he would not close.

"I'm honored and happy to be here," Rodriguez insisted. "If I didn't like the city, trust me, I'd go my separate way."

Sunblock day? Great day. It's heating up in the desert, close to 80 degrees. You want to see Cactus League clubs, you'd better slather on the sunscreen.

Likes: Looking forward to serving as a panelist at Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism on Monday night. I'll be joining Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Janie McCauley of the Associated Press and Bob Nightengale of USA Today in a panel discussion talking about covering spring training. ... Cool scene with the Rangers with Yu Darvish in camp. His parents are really nice folks. ... Meatballz Italian Deli in Peoria. Had the eggplant parmesan the other night and it was great. And I don't say that lightly: I've never before had eggplant parmesan. But it was Ash Wednesday, and I was going meatless, so I skipped the chicken parmesan. ... The shrimp creole at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen in Phoenix. ... Sirius/XM Satellite radio's E Street Channel. Been digging the unveiling of a new track each day from Bruce Springsteen's forthcoming Wrecking Ball record.

Dislikes: Grady Sizemore, hurt again in Cleveland. Poor guy, and poor Indians. What was shaping up as a brilliant career now looks certain to fall way short of that.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Kiss a little baby
"Give the world a smile
"And if you take an inch
"Give them back a mile
"'Cause if you lie like a rug
"And you don't give a damn
"You're never going to be
"As happy as a clam"

-- John Prine, Big Old Goofy World
Posted on: September 13, 2011 11:32 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2011 2:22 am

Brewers' K-Rod unhappy he's not in closer's mix

MILWAUKEE -- He's done his job. He's been a good soldier.

But if you think Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez is fine with pitching exclusively as a set-up man for first-place Milwaukee, you'd be wrong.

"I'm not fine," Rodriguez said Tuesday. "They told me I'd have the opportunity to close some games, and we've had 20-some save opportunities since then and I haven't even had one."

John Axford has earned 19 of his 42 saves since K-Rod's arrival. In 24 appearances, Rodriguez has worked only one ninth inning, in what was a 5-1 cruise over St. Louis on Aug. 10.

"I'm a little disappointed in that," said Rodriguez, who is 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA for the Brewers. "But that's something that's out of my hands."

Rodriguez will be a free agent this winter and figures he will return to closing in 2012.

Until then?

"Suck it up, pretty much," he said.

He apparently has not expressed these feelings of betrayal much to his teammates. No wonder, either, with Axford having converted a club-record 39 consecutive saves.

"He's been great," Axford says. "Coming to a new team, it takes a couple of days to adjust, but he jumped in pretty quickly.

"He's similar in attitude to the rest of us in the pen. It's a goofy group. Guys like to have fun. But we get serious at game time. That's the way he is, too. By the sixth or seventh inning, he's all business."

Initially, when the Brewers acquired Rodriguez, even Axford wasn't sure of what the roles would be -- his own, or K-Rod's.

"The biggest thing was, when I found out, I felt I did everything I could to that point to be the closer," Axford said. "But I wasn't going to argue if my role changed.

"We got Francisco to help the team. The important part wasn't was I going to close or was he?"

For his part, though he's unhappy he's not getting any save opportunities, Rodriguez has enjoyed his teammates and is looking forward to October.

"We've still got a couple of series to win to wrap up the division," he says.

Ironically, K-Rod could be in line for his first save opportunity Wednesday against Colorado. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told reporters after Tuesday's 2-1, 11-inning win over the Rockies that, because he used Axford for two innings on Tuesday, Rodriguez will be his closer on Wednesday if a save situation arises.

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