Detroit Tigers release struggling closer Francisco Rodriguez

SAN DIEGO - Francisco Rodriguez wanted to pitch in high-leverage situations again. He won’t pitch in any situation again for the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers opted on Friday to release Rodriguez, who has continued to struggle after losing the closer’s job to Justin Wilson earlier this season. The Tigers announced this afternoon they have recalled right-handed pitcher Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo.

The Tigers also announced that outfielder Alex Presley has been placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list, and they have selected the contract of outfielder Matt den Dekker from Toledo.

Rodriguez questioned the communication of manager Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Rich Dubee last week. Rodriguez declined to talk to reporters after the giving up a grand slam in a 9-6 loss to the Mariners in Seattle on Thursday.

Rodriguez is a proud man with 15 years of experience as closer in the majors and 437 career saves. But he has struggled all season and couldn’t be relied on lately, regardless of the situation.

“We were down two runs,” Ausmus said of the decision to use Rodriguez against the Mariners on Thursday. “It’s not really a high-leverage situation.”

Rodriguez hit a batter, allowed a sharp single, walked another batter to load the bases and then surrendered a grand slam to Robinson Cano.

The Tigers were swept in a four-game series at Safeco Field and fell into last place in the American League Central Division.

Rodriguez has allowed seven runs on seven hits in four appearances since voicing his displeasure about his non-closer role.

He has a 7.82 ERA and 1.658 WHIP this season. He allowed nine home runs over 25 1/3 innings and was 2-5 with six blown saves.

Rodriguez had 44 saves last season for the Tigers. He had a 3.24 ERA and a 1.131 WHIP over 58.1 innings in 2016, after being an All-Star the previous two seasons with the Brewers.

Rodriguez was set to make $6 million this season, and it's expected the Tigers will owe him north of $3 million.

He's the fourth veteran pitcher to be released or sent down by the franchise this year, joining Mike Pelfrey, Mark Lowe and Anibal Sanchez.

Each of the players were signed to contracts worth at least $5.5 million per year: Sanchez ($16.8 million), Pelfrey ($8 million) and Lowe ($5.5 million).

Sanchez rejoined the Tigers this month after agreeing to go to Triple-A Toledo for a stint. Lowe and Pelfrey were released during spring training. 

Detroit Free Press


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