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Rodney signs Minors deal with Nats 

June 2, 2019

CINCINNATI -- In hopes of bolstering their struggling bullpen, the Nationals have signed veteran right-hander Fernando Rodney to a Minor League deal. Manager Dave Martinez confirmed the move on Sunday morning. Rodney is expected to join Triple-A Fresno. The plan is for Rodney to throw a couple of bullpen sessions

CINCINNATI -- In hopes of bolstering their struggling bullpen, the Nationals have signed veteran right-hander Fernando Rodney to a Minor League deal. Manager Dave Martinez confirmed the move on Sunday morning. Rodney is expected to join Triple-A Fresno.

The plan is for Rodney to throw a couple of bullpen sessions before getting back on the mound.

“He’s a veteran guy I’ve known for years,” Martinez said. “Had him in Tampa. Very good clubhouse guy and had a lot of success at the big league level. Hopefully we can get him right.”

The Nationals' bullpen ranks last in the Majors with a 6.85 ERA, although they have pitched better of late, holding a hot Reds offense to just two hits over five innings on Saturday.

Rodney, 42, most recently was with Oakland where he went 0-2 with a 9.42 ERA with 12 walks and 14 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings over 17 appearances. He was designated for assignment on May 25 and then released by the Athletics.

Martinez got to know Rodney when he was with the Rays in 2012 and '13 while the Nats skipper was bench coach with Tampa Bay.

“He hasn’t pitched in a while, so we need to get him back in there,” said Martinez. “I’ve looked at some of his stuff. He’s got two really good pitches. His changeup is unbelievable. I know he’s walked a lot of guys. That’s not typically what he does, usually he’s a strike thrower.”

If he returns to the Major Leagues, Rodney will again be the oldest active player in baseball. At 42 years and 10 days old on Opening Day this season, he was the oldest active player. Rodney debuted with the Tigers in 2002.

Rodney’s 325 saves rank 18th on baseball’s all-time list. He had 39 saves for Arizona in 2017 and 25 for the Twins in '18. The Nationals hope he can return to form for them after a rough stint in Oakland.

“He’s just another veteran that can pitch in the back end of the bullpen,” Martinez said. “Hopefully he can help us.”