By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Mariners closer Fernando Rodney is heading to the All-Star Game and, yes, he’s planning to pack his quiver.
“You guys are going to see me (shoot) my arrow,” Rodney vowed through a smile shortly after learning of his selection. “No matter what inning I pitch, I’m going to (shoot) my arrow.”
Rodney leads the American League with 27 saves, and his signature move after the final out is to pantomime shooting an arrow into the air.
American League manager John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, selected Rodney on Saturday to serve as a replacement for Tampa Bay lefty David Price.
“I was very excited when I heard it,” said Rodney, who learned of his selection after the Mariners completed batting practice prior to their game against Oakland at Safeco Field.
“We had a little meeting in the dugout, and they said I was going to the All-Star Game. I’m happy. That’s a special moment for me right now.”
Rodney, 37, has a 1.98 ERA in 37 appearances after signing a two-year deal with Mariners as a free agent in February.
“The two saves he didn’t get was because we let him down defensively,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I don’t know what else he can do. Listen, the ninth inning is a very difficult inning.
“Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just anybody who can go out there and get it done.”
Rodney’s selection means the Mariners will have four players on AL’s 34-member roster for Tuesday’s game at Target Field in Minneapolis. It is their largest contingent since sending five to the 2003 game.
Second baseman Robinson Cano was voted to a starting position, and right-hander Felix Hernandez won the players’ vote and is viewed as a likely candidate to start the game.
Third baseman Kyle Seager was added last Monday as a replacement for injured Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.
Rodney is an All-Star for the second time in his career. He made the AL team in 2012 while pitching for Tampa Bay.
“You work to get to that level in your career,” he recalled. “The first time I made the All-Star Game, I was surprised. And I was so happy when I made it, I think I cried that day.”
Oddly, he accompanied Price, then a teammate, to the 2012 game in Kansas City. This time, he’s replacing Price on the active roster.
Price will make the trip to Minneapolis, but he was replaced because he is pitching today for the Rays.
Rodney noted, “He gave me a break.”