Friday, July 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney plans to shoot his arrow at All-Star Game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rays closer Fernando Rodney wasn't sure of all the specifics Monday as he enjoyed — and was a bit awed by — the first day of the first All-Star appearance of his career.

But he knows exactly what he plans to do when he gets on the mound tonight.

And it will have a familiar, and rewarding, look for Rays fans.

Rodney said late Monday he is in line to pitch the ninth if the AL has the lead, but no matter what inning he works after getting the final out he plans to "shoot" his celebratory arrow into the air — as he usually does after getting a save for the Rays.

"I'm going to call the infield in and tell them that's what we're going to do, everyone be looking for this," Rodney said. "I'm going to miss (Rays first baseman Carlos Peña), though, because he's not going to ask me where it's going."

At 35, Rodney is one of the oldest players to make his first All-Star appearance, and as he was joined by his wife, four kids and a couple friends, he relished it.

"I'm happy to be here," he said. "I feel I belong today."

Rodney was asked repeatedly about the keys to his success this season and how well he has handled the pressure of closing.

"Not too many guys like it," he said. "I asked a couple. They say they don't like it because they don't want to take the responsibility to come into the ninth inning. But I say, why not? Have fun there. Maybe somebody doesn't have fun. I have fun when it comes to the ninth.

"I like to close the door and see everybody stand up and go, 'Rodney!' "

Rodney, second in the American League with 25 saves (among 26 chances) and who has a 0.93 ERA, said he didn't care what inning he pitched.

"I just want to come in and get my three outs and shoot the arrow," he said.

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