New Minnesota Twins closer Fernando Rodney has been around the block. The Twins are his ninth team he’s suited up for in his career — and the sixth different organization since 2015.
And, like any player who’s been in the big leagues for 15 years, he has plenty of stories to tell.
The time he got stuck in a bathroom — during a game, for example.
In the eighth inning of a 2013 matchup in Oakland, Rodney, who was with the Tampa Bay Rays at the time, took a trip to the restroom to get ready for his save opportunity in the ninth. But the door jammed behind him, and he was trapped in there for a few minutes before the grounds crew did their best impression of a “Criminal Minds” episode and barged through the locked door.
“It was a kind of a fun moment,” Joe Maddon, Rodney’s manager at the time told the Associated Press. “We kind of rallied then — we should have kept him in there.”
Luckily, the moment was caught on television.
Rodney has two signature moves — and no, trips to the bathroom aren’t one of them.
Throughout his career, Rodney has worn his cap tilted to the side, circa 2005 Dontrelle Willis. He does this to honor his father, who was a fisherman in the Dominican Republic, who tilted his hat because the sun would hit one side of his face. Rodney’s father died in 2002, shortly before he made his major-league debut.
When he finishes off a save, the closer will stop on his way to the dugout and sling an imaginary bow-and-arrow towards the crowd, a tradition he began in 2012. “That comes from my hometown,” Rodney said. “They have a little community; they call it ‘la flecha’ (Spanish for arrow).”
On the mound, Rodney, a three-time All-Star who will turn 41 in March, has toiled previously for the Tigers, Angels, Rays, Mariners, Cubs, Padres, Marlins and Diamondbacks.
One advantage of playing for so many teams: Rodney sells t-shirts with a silhouette of him shooting an arrow in the team colors of his eight previous stops. And, yes, he sells sideways caps, too.
He holds the single-season saves record with two franchises. With Seattle in 2014, when he led the league in saves with 48, and also with Tampa Bay in 2012, when he also had 48 saves.
In fact, Rodney, who had 39 saves last season for Arizona, is one of just 28 pitchers to record 300 career saves. He has exactly 300 — but the Twins hope he continues to move up that list in 2018.