Rodney arrives to D-backs camp in great physical shape

Veteran closer plans to mentor club's young relievers

February 17th, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The first thing new D-backs manager Torey Lovullo noticed about was his sense of humor. When he shook hands with his closer, he noticed something else.

"I shook his hand and hit him on the shoulder, and it was pretty impressive," Lovullo said. "He's a guy that's taken very, very good care of himself despite his age."

Rodney, who will turn 40 next month, was signed by the D-backs to a one-year, $2.75 million deal, that also includes incentives, this past winter to close games, and also to mentor some of the team's younger relievers.

"My door is open," Rodney said of helping younger pitchers. "I think we've got a very good group of young players with good talent."

Rodney's arrival at camp was delayed until Thursday due to a citizenship hearing. He is expected to throw his first bullpen session on Friday.

"He's a very strong competitor," Lovullo said. "He's got incredible experience and he wants the baseball in the ninth inning, and that's something that we're going to take advantage of. And when you have the proven track record and the ability that he has, we feel like we've got a really special closer."

Despite his age, Rodney still throws hard, and in the first half of last season when he was the Padres' closer, he had 17 saves and a 0.31 ERA over 28 games. After being dealt to the Marlins in June, his role shifted to being a setup man, and he struggled with a 5.89 ERA in 39 appearances.

Rodney credits his longevity to his workout and eating habits.

"Rice, beans, plantains, a lot of seafood, a lot of meat and a lot of water," Rodney said. "No ice cream, no pizza, no Coca-Cola."