Rodney reports, ready to start on a high note

February 15th, 2018

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After missing the first day of camp to attend to an undisclosed personal matter, Twins closer arrived at Hammond Stadium on Thursday and will throw his first official bullpen on Friday.

Rodney, who turns 41 on March 18, said he stayed in shape during the offseason by pitching for Escogido in the Dominican Winter League playoffs in January and throwing long toss leading up to Spring Training to keep his arm loose.

"I feel good," Rodney said. "I feel like I'm back at home. I'm going to throw my first bullpen tomorrow and once I throw that first bullpen, that's when I really start Spring Training."

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Rodney participated in a full workout on Thursday and had to play catch up after missing a few instructional meetings on Wednesday.

"It was good to see Fernando here," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He missed out on some of the verbiage yesterday on some of the fundamentals, but we pulled him aside to let him watch and observe some stuff so he could get a feel."

Rodney knows it's important to get out to a good start this season at closer, especially with the club's strong bullpen and new addition behind him with closing experience. Rodney had a 12.60 ERA in 11 appearances in April with the D-backs last year, but turned it around to post a 2.38 ERA the rest of the way (50 appearances).

Rodney said the biggest issue was finding a grip for his changeup and slider because of the dry air in Arizona, which shouldn't be a problem in Minnesota.

"It was a little bit hard, but I saw what I believed in myself in Spring Training and my stuff was there," Rodney said. "It was just shaky that first week. It was just a different feel in Arizona. I was leaving the ball up in the strike zone. That first month, it was so dry, it's hard to throw offspeed."

Rodney, who signed a one-year deal worth $4.5 million with a club option for 2019, was asked if it was difficult to remain effective so late in his career, but quipped that the workload for a closer is easy.

"It's not hard -- it's only one inning," Rodney said with a laugh. "You just have to do your job and control the game. When you love what you do and you know how to respect the game, you can stay long in this game. I try to be a good teammate and be good to the fans. That's my game."

Twins tidbits

• Right-hander arrived at camp on Thursday, while awaiting to hear the decision on his Wednesday arbitration hearing. He later learned the club had won its case. The Twins offered $4.2 million, and Gibson requested $4.55 million.

It was the first arbitration hearing the Twins had won since 2006 with Kyle Lohse.

• Right-hander , who is coming off Tommy John surgery, threw a light bullpen session Thursday. May is being stretched out as a starter and is expected to return in early May.

• The Twins are holding individual player meetings over the next three days to give the front office and Molitor the chance to communicate specifically what they're looking for this spring and receive feedback from each player.

• The Twins held their 20th annual Celebrity Golf Classic in Fort Myers on Thursday to raise money for the Lee County regional cancer center.

• The Twins, in collaboration with Delaware North Sportservice, will host job fairs for the upcoming season. They'll be at Target Field on Friday, Feb. 22, Feb. 23, Feb. 27, March 7, March 9, March 14 and March 16. Additionally, there will be a job fair at Sabathani Community Center on March 6, and at Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center on March 8.

• The Twins announced single-game tickets, including Opening Day, will go on sale at 10 a.m. CT Friday. Early access will be available through's Ballpark app starting at 10 a.m. on Feb. 16. Otherwise, fans can buy tickets on or call (612) 33-TWINS.