BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Somerset Patriots open a three-game series Tuesday night at TD Bank Ballpark against the the Long Island Ducks who announced on Monday the signing of right-handed closer Francisco Rodriguez who has pitched in the Big Leagues for 16 years.
His 437 career saves rank him fourth on the all-time list behind Mariano Rivera (652), Trevor Hoffman (601) and Lee Smith (478).
Rodriguez has pitched for the Los Angeles Angels (2002-08), New York Mets (2009-11), Milwaukee Brewers (2011-13, 2014-15), Baltimore Orioles (2013) and Detroit Tigers (2016-17). He was selected to play in six Major League All-Star Games, representing the American League three times (2004, ‘07, ‘08) and the National League three times (2009, ‘14, ‘15). The Venezuela native earned a World Series championship with the Angels in 2002, finished in the Top 5 for Cy Young Award voting three times (2004, ‘06, ‘08) and ranked sixth in American League MVP voting for 2008.
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The 36-year-old has appeared in 948 games during his MLB career. He has also compiled a 2.86 career earned run average and 1,142 strikeouts to just 389 walks over 976 innings of work. Rodriguez led the American League in saves on three separate occasions (2005, ‘06, ‘08), and his 62 saves in 2008 are the most ever recorded in a single-season in Major League Baseball history. He has also pitched in 26 postseason games in the big leagues, totaling a 5-4 record, a 2.95 ERA, three saves and 49 strikeouts in 36 and two-thirds innings.
The right-hander joins the Ducks after spending the 2017 season in the Tigers and Washington Nationals organizations. He pitched in 28 MLB games with Detroit, recording seven saves and striking out 23 batters in 25 and one-third innings. He then signed a minor league contract with an invite to spring training by the Philadelphia Phillies this past January. Rodriguez, a two-time World Baseball Classic participant with Venezuela (2006, ‘09), was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Angels in 1998.