PEORIA, Ariz. -- Fernando Rodney was all smiles Thursday as Padres pitchers and catchers reported to the Peoria Sports Complex.
"I feel good," the righty reliever said. "It's a chance to be in uniform."
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Rodney, who earlier this month agreed to a one-year deal with the Padres, wasn't just excited to join a new team, but was encouraged his tight left hamstring won't waylay him much this spring -- if at all.
"It's not too bad. I feel very close, like, 85 percent," said Rodney, who turns 39 on March 18.
Rodney first felt tightness in the hamstring while pitching in the Caribbean World Series for his native Dominican Republic.
The Padres will keep tabs on him early in camp, and he'll receive treatment from the training staff. If this causes him to be slower to make his bullpen sessions, it won't be critical, said manager Andy Green.
"The report from him is he feels really good. We're going to bridle him a little bit early on. The guy's done it a few times. We don't need him out of the chute going 100 mph on Feb. 19 and 20," Green said.
"We want him built up for the end of Spring Training. If you look around the game, there are a lot of closers that don't take the baseball until like the middle of Spring Training in games. This guy wants to pitch every day. He loves pitching. I love guys who want to pitch every day, and that's who he is."
Rodney is looking forward to another chance to prove himself after a disastrous 2015 -- as he was designated for assignment by Seattle in August after posting a 5.68 ERA with six blown saves. Eventually he was traded to the Cubs, where he went 2-0 with an 0.74 ERA in 12 innings over 14 regular-season appearances, plus two more appearances in the postseason.
"Last year, I don't know exactly what happened,'' Rodney said. "The first 20 games, I got, like, 16 saves, blew three. They took me out of the spot. If you have a guy who closed for you and got 48 saves [as Rodney did in 2014 for Seattle] the year before that, and then the next year you start a little bit slow, that happens sometimes.
"If you look at last year, that happened to a lot of closers," Rodney added. "... Great teams [sometimes] just start slow, until you find the right stuff and do a good job. They decided not to put me in the games. I'm not good with that, but that's what happened."
The Padres did some deep digging on Rodney before reaching a deal that will pay him $1.5 million and can max out at $7 million with performance bonuses.
San Diego assistant general manager Fred Uhlman Jr. and the vice president of scouting operation, Don Welke, flew to the Dominican Republic to watch him pitch this winter. They came away impressed with his stuff and his strong work ethic.
"That's what keeps me alive in baseball," Rodney said of staying in shape. "... As soon as the season is done, I took three weeks rest, and then I started doing my workouts. That's the only way you're going to stay in this game."