MILWAUKEE -- Reliever Francisco Rodriguez has secured his work visa and is expected to report to a Brewers Minor League affiliate next week to begin his comeback bid in earnest.
The Brewers brought back Rodriguez on a Minor League contract April 17 that gave the team 30 days to evaluate the 31-year-old right-hander and determine whether he could be a fit for their Major League bullpen. He had been pitching in extended spring training while awaiting his visa, and, with that hurdle cleared, will report next week to advanced Class A Brevard County, according to assistant general manager Gord Ash.
After three to five days there, Rodriguez could earn a promotion to Triple-A Nashville. By mid-May, the Brewers will have to decide whether to add Rodriguez to the Major League roster or offer him his release.
Ash stressed that it must be a good fit for both sides.
"He could be pitching extraordinarily well, and if we don't need him, we don't need him," Ash said. "And on the other hand, if we're pitching poorly and he's pitching poorly, then that doesn't make sense either. Once you add him, it's guaranteed. It's not like you can change your mind a week later and save the money."
Rodriguez would earn a prorated portion of a base salary just north of $2 million.
Rodriguez spent the last two years with the Brewers after collecting at least 20 saves in seven straight seasons with the Angels and Mets. He struck out 72 batters in 72 innings last year with a 4.38 ERA but faltered when offered an opportunity to close games in mid-July. The Brewers let Rodriguez depart via free agency after the season.