By Sam Bush
Francisco Rodriguez may be 36 years old, but the man they call K-Rod still has some young stuff!
The veteran righty tossed a scoreless eighth in a 7-6 Phillies win over the Yankees.
“He’s not Frankie from 10 years ago who is going to out-stuff you,” manager Gabe Kapler told MLB.com. “He’s now going to outsmart and out-execute you.”
Rodriguez allowed a single to Brandon Drury to lead off the inning and used his offspeed stuff to get out of the inning.
Through five Grapefruit League appearances, the six-time All-Star has not allowed an earned run and has held opponents to a .188 average.
“I think he’s done a great job for us. He’s battled,” Kapler said. “I think what he has every day is his competitiveness, his tenacity, his grit and his focus.”
K-Rod is in camp as a non-roster invitee after signing a Minor League deal in January. After averaging 42 saves per season from 2014 to 2016, Rodriguez is coming off the worst year of his career after going 2-5 with a 7.82 ERA in 20 games for the Tigers in 2017. Should he find a spot on this year’s roster, Rodriguez would definitely bring a veteran presence to a young bullpen. During his 16-year career, he has compiled 437 saves in 948 appearances, both tops among active players.