The Milwaukee Brewers opened their 2014 campaign with a tight, hard-earned victory over the Atlanta Braves. Holding a 2-0 lead entering the 9th inning, the team handed the ball to the man who will be their closer this season.
To the surprise of many, that closer was Francisco Rodriguez and not Jim Henderson. At least for one day Rodriguez rewarded that decision, locking down the 9th inning for the save. Manager Ron Roenicke explained the decision after the game (quotes from MLB.com):
We had a conversation about Henderson yesterday, and until we feel like he’s throwing the way he can and was last year, we’re going to put him in a role that we can give him a couple outings to get his stuff back and his confidence going. That’s just a decision we had to make. I talked to him about it and I talked to Frankie today about closing. We feel good about it.”
That gives the impression that the decision could be temporary, but such as these things go, the man known as K-Rod will have the 9th inning gig as long as he is getting the job done. This is approximately K-Rod’s 27th opportunity to be a closer in the big leagues, despite some mixed results over the years. It just goes to show: never say never when it comes to hard-throwing relievers, and don’t overpay for saves (in fantasy baseball or real life).