CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It is not a surprise to see Sean Rodríguez back in baseball. He always seemed like somebody who would want to stay involved in the game.
It is a bit of a surprise to see him in a Phillies uniform at Carpenter Complex.
The Phillies recently hired Rodríguez as a player development instructor. He will work with Minor League infielders and baserunners in Clearwater throughout the year. Rodríguez, 36, had a 13-year career in the big leagues. He spent one season with the Phillies in 2019, where he provided one of the more surreal moments in recent franchise history: He called fans “entitled” after he slugged a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of a game in August. Rodríguez said later that he was only trying to defend a couple teammates who had been booed.
“Everything we do has an impact,” Rodríguez said Tuesday. “It stays. It’s funny because whenever I’m asked about it, I answer the same way. I think I’m just getting with some like-minded people [in Philadelphia]. Philly fans are just as passionate about baseball as I am. I was doing my best to try to defend two stars on our team, seeing if I couldn’t alleviate some pressure on them. It is a little funny that I’m back, but Phillies fans are passionate and I’m a passionate player. We’re passionate about baseball. We’re passionate about sports. We’re passionate about competition. A lot of common areas there.”
Rodríguez played his final season in the big leagues with Miami in 2020. He wanted to get back in the game because he remembered the impact current and former players had on him as he started his career in the Angels’ system in 2003.
“I saw an opportunity to pay it forward,” Rodríguez said. “I want to help out anyone and everyone that I can. I want to push them forward and ultimately get them to the point where they can help us win games. Maybe it’s a kid that’s seasoned, a good player, but maybe he’s up and down and can’t get over some kind of hurdle. Maybe it’s something I can talk to him about. Maybe it’s some kind of mental trigger, maybe it’s a physical trigger. You go down all the way to rookie ball; the tips and tools are endless at that point. But at the end of the day, I love baseball. I love seeing good, quality baseball, seeing people who are just passionate about playing the game the right way. If I can help more kids get to that level and do it that way, then I’m in.”
Phillies general manager Sam Fuld believes that Rodríguez will help. He knows him well. They were once teammates with the Rays.
“I’ve always admired the way that he played the game,” Fuld said. “He’s got a competitiveness and a tenacity that I don’t know was matched. There’s a lot to be said about that. His knowledge and instincts are at a really high level. He embodies a lot of what we’re looking for. It’s toughness. It’s competitiveness. It’s respect for the game. I think he’s going to be a really good addition to our group. I think what happened a couple years ago is something both publicly and privately he has talked about, regretting certain words that he used. I really believe that if he had been a Phillie for a little bit longer, that fans would have really gotten to appreciate the way he plays the game.”
“I genuinely love to win,” Rodríguez said. “I’ve been to the postseason a lot, but I’ve never won a World Series. My finger is still itching real bad. Maybe if we win one here, maybe I can make amends for what some people are still [ticked] off at me about, and I don’t blame them.”
Radio broadcast team is official
The Phillies announced on Tuesday morning that former players Michael Bourn, Chad Durbin, Erik Kratz and Kevin Stocker will alternate as radio color analysts for road games in 2022.
Larry Andersen remains the color analyst at home.
“We believe the four alums who we selected will work well with Scott Franzke and bring a variety of perspectives and unique personalities to the game, making listening more entertaining,” Phillies executive vice president David Buck said.
Gregg Murphy will join the Phillies for the entire season as the pregame and postgame host.
The team earlier signed catcher Karl Ellison, infielder Drew Maggi, first baseman Joe Genord, outfielder Justin Williams and right-hander James Marvel to Minor League deals. Williams has an invite to big league camp.