Rodney excited to start anew with D-backs

Rodney excited to start anew with D-backs

PHOENIX -- New D-backs closer Fernando Rodney joked that he's already placed an order for 45 invisible arrows, one for every save he hopes to rack up in 2017, and he plans to launch them into the sky from the mound with his new teammates after each victory.

Rodney's postgame bow-and-arrow celebration is well known in baseball circles. It's also no secret that he'll be expected to fill the void at the back end of the bullpen left by veterans Brad Ziegler and Tyler Clippard, who were traded prior to last seaon's Trade Deadline.

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The D-backs targeted Rodney this offseason and finalized his one-year, $2.75 million deal on Friday. Incentives could increase the value of the deal to $5 million.

"First, I want to give thanks to God. I feel good physically and mentally," Rodney, 39, said in Spanish. "My body feels great and I'm going to pitch until God tells me it's time to stop. I know I can help this team."

Rodney had a 3.44 ERA in 67 appearances for the Padres and Marlins in 2016, including 25 saves in 28 opportunities. He had a 0.31 ERA and was 17-for-17 in save chances for the Padres, allowing only one earned run in 28 2/3 innings. He a 5.89 ERA with Miami with all three of his blown saves after the trade to the Marlins in June.

"The first half of last year he was really, really good. It's a tough sport for pitchers," D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. "He's been extremely durable over the course of his career. We feel good about that and he's pitched at an extremely high level for a long time."

Rodney's 25th save

Miami declined to pick up the veteran's option for 2017 after the season.

"Overall, I still think last year was a good year for me and this is another opportunity to show that the Fernando Rodney that everyone knows is still here," the pitcher said. "That's what I wanted the fans to know and the Arizona fans will see it, too."

Rodney once shared a clubhouse with catcher Jeff Mathis for two seasons in Anaheim. He later spent parts of two seasons in Seattle with Taijuan Walker. But the first person he'll likely seek out when pitchers and catchers report in February is rookie reliever Steve Hathaway, who gave up his jersey No. 56 so Rodney could wear it next season.

"We have good players and lots of talent and I'm committed to be my best," Rodney said. "I know I can help with the young guys here. We are one team, one group and we want to win. We have to bring that mentality Spring Training."

For now, Rodney will resume his offseason training in Miami and he hopes to pitch five or six innings in winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He said Dominican Republic general manager Moises Alou has anointed him the captain of the bullpen for the country's World Baseball Classic team.

"I'm a veteran and can share my experience," Rodney said. "I'll do that in the World Baseball Classic and with the Diamondbacks, too."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.