K-Rod still finding cactus needles in foot
PHOENIX -- Francisco Rodriguez has looked sharp in his two appearances this spring, which is fitting since his foot is still full of spines from a cactus.
The veteran reliever said he pulled three or four dime-sized spines on Sunday and three more on Monday morning before striking out two White Sox batters and retiring all three men he faced in his second scoreless inning since returning to action.
He took off his sock and showed reporters the bottom of his foot, which is still dotted with dozens of buried spines. As the swelling subsides in his foot, more are emerging to be plucked, but one clump in a tender area of his mid-foot continues to cause significant pain.
Asked how he was feeling, Rodriguez said, "About the same. It's not getting any worse. It's getting better, but I landed so hard out there, you still can feel it. I thought by now the pain should go away, but it hasn't. You just have to be patient. The good thing is it hasn't held me out from doing my routine and my workouts."
Said manager Ron Roenicke: "The guy knows how to pitch. He knows when to throw off-speed, and he's got two 'plus' off-speed pitches. His fastball is probably not where he wants it to be right now, but he locates it well, he's got life on it. Being able to do that with the two other pitches, he's going to be good again."
One of the Brewers' other late-inning relievers did not fare as well. Closer Jim Henderson surrendered four runs on four hits in the seventh inning, including a pair of doubles and a two-run home run. One of the doubles was nearly caught by right fielder Irving Falu, who could have ended the inning with only one run across.
"It's still not coming out like we want," Roenicke said. "I thought he threw some decent sliders down, but on one of them the guy went down and smoked it. Who knows? He's going to have to locate better and keep the ball down, but it's not the same."