08/18/11 3:11 PM ET
K-Rod anxious, but not bothered by setup role
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
As long as his new team keeps winning, K-Rod says that his post-trade role is not a problem.
"It's been a month and I haven't gotten any chances, but we're winning and [incumbent Brewers closer John] Axford has something really nice going on," Rodriguez said. "For me to be complaining, or say anything about not getting a save situation, sounds really, really selfish. The ballclub is doing everything good out there on the field, so I'll wait for the opportunity. And when it comes, I'll make sure that I don't waste it."
He will reunite with old teammates on Friday, when the Brewers visit New York for the start of a three-game series against the Mets. Asked about returning to Citi Field, where he logged 83 saves in two-plus seasons, Rodriguez shrugged.
"Honestly, it doesn't matter," he said. "This is a business, and you have to be able to see that as a part of it. You can't be in my position and only see my side. You have to take a look at and understand both sides. They did what they had to do."
It helped that Rodriguez saw a trade coming -- even if he didn't see it coming as early as the All-Star break. The Brewers sent two players to be named later to the Mets for Rodriguez, then days later negotiated a deal to eliminate the clause in his contract that automatically engaged a $17.5 million option for 2012, had he finished 55 games. Rodriguez had already finished 34 games with the Mets, a franchise dealing with off-field issues related to Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
In return for Rodriguez agreeing to convert the option into a mutual one, the Brewers increased the cost of the accompanying buyout by $500,000, to $4 million.
Rodriguez's arrival, along with Takashi Saito's return from the disabled list, has transformed the Brewers' bullpen into one of the team's strengths. Rodriguez allowed only three runs in his first 14 appearances, though he did not pitch from Saturday through Wednesday after experiencing leg cramps on Friday night.
"It's been great," manager Ron Roenicke said of Rodriguez's role. "Am I happy that we aren't getting him opportunities to save games? No. But I think since we've got him, that bullpen has changed. I've said all along that I liked our bullpen, but when he got here and he was OK with pitching the eighth inning, it made it a great bullpen."
Roenicke has had several conversations with Rodriguez about his role, one as recently as a week ago.
Does K-Rod feel like a big part of the Brewers' recent surge?
"Not yet," he said. "Until we accomplish what we accomplish, I don't want to say anything. I still have a lot of games to contribute to.
"I am definitely having fun. They have done everything possible to open their arms. They made me feel like I haven't only been here for four weeks. I feel like I've been here since the spring. It makes it a lot easier for a player when that happens."
Brewers weighing pitching options for Monday
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers are formulating a plan in the growing likelihood that left-handed starter Chris Narveson is not ready to return from the disabled list for Monday's doubleheader in Pittsburgh.Zack Greinke will start one of the games, but the other remains in question. Narveson sliced the thumb on his throwing hand while fixing the stitching on his glove last week, and the wound has worsened since eight stitches were removed on Monday. He has been throwing with a bandage over the cut, and he will attempt to pitch a bullpen session on Saturday. "If that doesn't go really well Saturday, then we're not going to try to pitch him Monday," manager Ron Roenicke said. In that event, the Brewers would have some options for the game that Greinke does not pitch. The first possibility is to promote a starter from Triple-A Nashville. Roenicke said that club officials already have someone in mind, but declined to say who. Conveniently on schedule is right-hander Wily Peralta, one of Milwaukee's top pitching prospects, who delivered seven shutout innings Wednesday in his second Triple-A start. He's already on the 40-man roster and is having a solid season, but failed to impress in Spring Training when the Brewers gave him an opportunity to win the No. 5 starter's job. Another option is 26-year-old righty Michael Fiers, who last started Wednesday for Nashville and is 10-3 with a 2.26 ERA for two affiliates this season. He is not on the 40-man roster at the moment, but must be added by December to avoid exposure to the Rule 5 Draft. That makes him, at the very least, a likely September callup. Or the Brewers could simply select a starter from within. The likely starter would be right-hander Frankie De La Cruz, who is currently in Milwaukee's bullpen. Until last week, Cruz was the No. 1 starter at Nashville, going 7-6 with a 3.88 ERA. Tim Dillard would be the first backup. The team's preference is to start Greinke in Game 1. But if the Brewers were to start De La Cruz or a callup in the early game, they could make a roster move between games to add a fresh arm for Game 2. "We've talked about both ways," Roenicke said.
Injured second baseman Rickie Weeks took some light batting practice on Wednesday, manager Ron Roenicke said. Weeks is on the disabled list with a severely sprained left ankle and remains weeks away from a return, but has progressed to the point of joining the team on its pending road trip.
With their win on Wednesday night, the Brewers matched the best 30-game stretch in franchise history. They are 23-7 in the last 30 games entering Thursday, equaling a mark set in 1983.