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K-ROD HOPING TO MAKE COMEBACK FOLLOWING THREE-YEAR ABSENCE FROM MAJORS

K-Rod is looking to make a return to the major leagues

Francisco Rodriguez, the former All-Star closer whose 437 MLB saves rank him fourth all time, revealed last week that he is continuing to pitch at the lower levels of baseball in hopes of making a long-shot comeback. It has been three years since he last threw a pitch in the majors.

"That is the goal," Rodriguez told Venezuelan journalist Guillermo Arcay during a Spanish-language interview on Instagram Live, as translated by MLive's Evan Woodberry. "In spite of the fact that I'm seen as being advanced in age, that is the goal. The injuries and the ups and downs have slowed me down. But I have the conviction, the hunger and I am completely sure I can accomplish it."

His most recent big-league appearance came back in 2017. The Detroit Tigers released him after he posted a career-worst 7.82 ERA while allowing 11 hits per nine innings in 28 outings. He made a brief stint with the Washington Nationals' minor league teams later that year and failed to make the Philadelphia Phillies' roster the following spring.

Since then, Rodriguez has bounced around. He saved 27 games for the independent Long Island Ducks in 2018 and then pitched in 10 games for Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League last summer.

The 38-year-old understands the unlikely odds of his comeback succeeding but has also pointed to his personal history as an example of going against the trends.

"Many say it's impossible. Impossible was a child leaving the Barrio Kennedy (in Caracas, Venezuela) and succeeding abroad," Rodriguez said. "If you had asked me 25 years ago if I was going to be one of the best five closers in the big leagues, I would have told you that it was impossible."

Rodriguez debuted in MLB with the Anaheim Angels in September 2002 and became a star at age 20 with a dominating playoff performance that year. He notched 13 strikeouts during the Angels' World Series win.

A six-time All-Star, K-Rod is one of just six relievers to record at least 400 saves and also owns the all-time single-season record (62 saves in 2008). He tallied a 2.86 ERA and 1,142 strikeouts across 948 total appearances with the Angels, Tigers, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, and Baltimore Orioles.



JAMES TUBB
MAY 19, 2020  (18H04)
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