K-Rod reports, says he’s OK in setup role

While we wait for Ryan Braun to arrive at Maryvale Baseball Park, here’s what Francisco Rodriguez had to say upon reporting to camp:

“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s a new chapter in my life. I’m looking forward to once again being back there on the field.”

Is he surprised to be back?

“No,” Rodriguez insisted. “A lot of people were shocked and surprised, but for me, no. I had a really great experience last year in Milwaukee. The organization opened [its] arms to me for three and a half months and made me feel so special. The fans, the way they treated my family. I liked the city. That was something that I was looking for, so my decision was a lot easier when I had to make it.”

It was suggested that people were surprised because they assumed Rodriguez would seek a closer’s job, rather than accept arbitration and return as the Brewers’ setup man.

“We tried. I tried. I definitely tried,” he said. “We had a couple of options, but I’ve been in this situation and it’s not about money-wise. It’s about feeling comfortable and being happy, where you want to be.”

Asked whether he will be happy as a set-up man this year, K-Rod said, “Of course. Definitely. Last year was different, a situation where we didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know what to expect. This year, the mentality, the preparation is going to come as a set-up [man], and hopefully in the future I’ll get the opportunity to close again.”

Rodriguez declined to say much about his dispute with his former agents, whom he contends failed to file a no-trade list as part of his previous contract with the Mets. He said he included the Brewers on that list because Trevor Hoffman was the closer at the time. That oversight, Rodriguez contends, allowed New York to trade him to Milwaukee in the first place, essentially costing K-Rod his closer’s role.

But he made clear Friday that he has no beef with the Brewers. Rodriguez said he reported later than the rest of the pitchers because he had personal issues to tend to in Venezuela.

“I’m really honored and happy to be here, trust me,” he said. “If I didn’t feel happy last year … I would have gone our separate ways.”

On the Braun front, Rodriguez said, “I’m excited for him. He can now explain to the world what exactly happened. I’m feeling good for him.”

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