PEORIA, Ariz. -- Francisco Rodriguez drew a clubhouse crowd on Friday morning in Brewers camp, where the veteran reliever underwent a physical exam that marked the final hurdle toward a two-year, $13 million contract. The team will formally announce the deal on Saturday.
"He's just got that personality people gravitate to," fellow reliever Will Smith said of K-Rod, a Venezuelan who was delayed by visa issues for a second straight year. "He's been there, he's done it, he's got advice for young guys like me. He's just a guy that people want to be around."
"We like to mess with him, and he messes with everyone else. People are attracted to his personality," Brandon Kintzler said. "He [leads] quietly. He goes about his business and performs. When a guy pitches five, six days in a row, that speaks volumes."
Between greetings from his teammates, Rodriguez declined to speak to reporters until his contract is finalized.
Rodriguez will throw a series of bullpen sessions before the Brewers slot him into a Cactus League game, said manager Ron Roenicke, who believes Rodriguez has ample time to prepare for the start of the regular season.
Last year, Rodriguez also reported late to camp because of travel issues in Venezuela, then was further set back when he stepped barefoot on a cactus. But he didn't allow a run until his 20th appearance of the season and made the National League All-Star team on the way to 44 saves.
"You look at what guys add on," Roenicke said. "It's not just what they do on his field. 'Frankie' is a guy in our bullpen who those guys depend on for leadership."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.