PITTSBURGH -- Francisco Rodriguez is back in the Brewers' closer role, but manager Ron Roenicke attributed the switch to performance and not to showcasing Rodriguez before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Rodriguez is on a one-year deal, earning a prorated portion of about $2 million, and he has been flip-flopping roles with Jim Henderson, who is still in his pre-arbitration years. Rodriguez could be an attractive chip for the Brewers to trade, though Roenicke said that had nothing to do with the latest switch.
"None -- not for me anyway," Roenicke said. "Not until I meet with Doug [Melvin, the GM] and he tells me something different."
So why make the change? On the previous road trip, Roenicke indicated that Henderson was the closer.
"Henderson -- we still like doing it, and I'm fine [with him] doing it, but Frankie is probably throwing the ball better now than Henderson is. I would say the only reason we would change it right now is if the matchups really looked better for Frankie to go the eighth and Henderson to go the ninth. If it's just generic, right now, Frankie is closing."
Rodriguez has been sensational since signing a Minor League deal with Milwaukee in April and making it to the Majors in May. In his first 17 appearances since the callup, he allowed one earned run and only eight hits in 17 1/3 innings, for a 0.55 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP. He logged six saves in that span, including the 300th of his career on June 22.
Roenicke said he had spoken with his relievers about the current plan.