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Neshek, K-Rod talk winding paths to Phillies

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Pat Neshek and Francisco Rodriguez's recent journeys to the Phillies came under rather divergent circumstances.

Neshek rejoined the team that traded him in July because he said he loved the city and organization. He signed a two-year, $16.25 million contract in December. Rodriguez signed a Minor League contract a couple weeks ago. He is trying to resurrect his career after the Tigers and Nationals released him last season.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Pat Neshek and Francisco Rodriguez's recent journeys to the Phillies came under rather divergent circumstances.

Neshek rejoined the team that traded him in July because he said he loved the city and organization. He signed a two-year, $16.25 million contract in December. Rodriguez signed a Minor League contract a couple weeks ago. He is trying to resurrect his career after the Tigers and Nationals released him last season.

"We didn't really wait for other teams," Neshek said Wednesday before Phillies pitchers and catchers held their first workout at Carpenter Complex. "I probably left a little bit more on the table from other teams. Well, I know I did because a team called me after I agreed [with the Phillies]. Their first offer was better, but it was a comfort thing. I was really happy with the offer. I didn't want to wait and see anything else."

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Neshek, 37, posted a 1.12 ERA in 43 appearances last season with the Phillies, making the National League All-Star team. He had a 2.45 ERA in 28 appearances following his trade to the Rockies. Rodriguez, 36, saved 126 games with the Brewers and Tigers from 2014-16 before posting a 7.82 ERA in 28 appearances with the Tigers in 2017.

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Rodriguez made just five appearances in the Nationals' farm system before being released.

"It's a new chapter in my career," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said he struggled last season because of injuries. He had a tight hamstring early in Spring Training, but he left camp to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. He pulled his groin and never really recovered. But Rodriguez said he entered this spring healthy.

"We're back to normal," he said. "After I got cut by the Nationals, I decided to let my body rest and start over again. I've been throwing since late November. I haven't felt any discomfort. I've felt stronger every day."

Rodriguez's fastball averaged 89.6 mph last season. It averaged 90.3 mph the previous two. He said in bullpen sessions in January that it clocked anywhere from 89-92 mph.

Video: ARI@DET: K-Rod retires Owings to end the threat

"It's not a huge jump, but it tells me that my pitches are way better than last year," he said. "I wasn't fooling anybody [last year], which is why both teams let me go. But this year is a different mentality. I'm healthy."

Quinn will play some shortstop

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler preaches versatility, so it should surprise nobody that he has had outfielder Roman Quinn fielding grounders at shortstop.

Do not expect a position change for Quinn, whose future is in the outfield. But the Phillies would like to know that Quinn can handle the position in a pinch, if needed. Quinn played 149 games at shortstop early in his Minor League career before moving to the outfield.

Video: Gabe Kapler discusses how the game is evolving

"I don't think it's harmful for him to take some reps on the infield to see what we have there," Kapler said. "I also don't think it's harmful if we get him some looks there just to see. Because he's an incredible athlete. He's very, very gifted going to his left. He's very explosive. He's got all the athletic capability to handle ground balls and to make plays. So I think we'd be foolish not to look under that stone."

Extra bases

• There are 31 pitchers and six catchers in camp. Kapler reported everybody healthy and on schedule.

• Phillies single-game tickets for all regular-season home games at Citizens Bank Park go on sale Thursday at 9 a.m. ET at phillies.com. Fans can also call 215-463-1000 or visit the West Ticket Windows at Citizens Bank Park.

• The Phillies will wear powder blue uniforms on select Thursdays this season.

• Every team celebrates its history and the Phillies are no different. They will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2008 World Series championship team during alumni weekend Aug. 3-5. The 25th anniversary of the 1993 National League championship will be honored June 10.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, Pat Neshek, Francisco Rodriguez