MILWAUKEE -- Francisco Rodriguez has gone through a lot of changes in the past couple of weeks. After being dealt to the Brewers, K-Rod's now focused on trying to adapt to his current eighth-inning role.
So far, it's been more difficult than his numbers would suggest. Rodriguez made his Miller Park debut on Tuesday night and pitched a perfect eighth inning. But that doesn't mean the transition has necessarily been an easy one.
"It's a big adjustment," Rodriguez said. "I've been a closer pretty much my whole career, so that transition hasn't been easy at all. But I'm trying to make the adjustments as quick as possible and just get the job done any time that I go out there."
Rodriguez said "pretty much everything" has to change in his preparations to head out onto the field in the eighth inning, as opposed to taking over in the ninth. The last time he had to go through a similar transition was in 2003 with the Angels.
"He's a guy that wants to be out there when you have one out left in the ninth inning to win a game. He wants to be that guy," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who was an Angels coach for all of Rodriguez's seven seasons with that team. "Mentally, he's a closer. He's not an eighth-inning guy. Can he do the eighth inning? Absolutely, he's a gamer, he'll do it. But it's hard, it's hard for me knowing what he's done in the past, and being with him and to ask him to do that."
Roenicke did admit that it's hard to take the ball out of closer John Axford's hand in the ninth. Axford converted his 25th consecutive save on Tuesday night, and Rodriguez said he enjoys watching the closer go to work.
"As long as we win, I can care less," Rodriguez said. "I just want to go out there and compete and get it done. Obviously, he's not going to be able to pitch every single day, and me neither. But whoever has opportunity to close out games will get it done."