K-Rod works third straight day

Maybe it's time to give Francisco Rodriguez a new nickname.

Forget K-Rod. How about Every Day-Rod?

Francisco Rodriguez

Relief Pitcher
New York Mets


Rodriguez pitched for the third straight day Saturday, throwing a scoreless ninth to earn the save in the Mets' 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was K-Rod's first clean outing of at least an inning all season.

On Thursday, Rodriguez threw 42 pitches in 1 1/3 innings.

He bounced back on Friday for a 12-pitch save. On Saturday, he needed another 12 pitches to get through the Dodgers' Nos. 5-7 hitters and wrap up the Mets' third straight win.

"He's unbelievable," manager Terry Collins said. "Off the charts."

Collins -- who had doubted K-Rod would even be available Friday, a day after the 42-pitch effort -- had checked with Rodriguez on Saturday afternoon to see if he'd again be available. Rodriguez told the manager he felt "fine" even though he was unsure if he could pitch before testing his arm in the bullpen.

"My body responded well so I guess my arm's still in pretty good shape right now," he said.

Hard to argue with that assessment after what we saw Saturday.

K-Rod got Tony Gwynn Jr. to ground out to short and struck out Juan Uribe and Dioner Navarro swinging to end the game.

"The guy's amazing, just amazing," Collins said. "I told him as soon as the game is over, I said, 'You're incredible.'"

No offense to the Mets manager, but "incredible" may be a bit of an overstatement when it comes to K-Rod's recent durability. The reliever has pitched at least three straight days seven times during his Mets tenure.

He has thrown on four straight days twice during that three-year span.

The 66 pitches he threw during the three-day span certainly stood out, though. K-Rod has topped 66 pitches while making multiple appearances without a day off just once -- when he threw 70 over four straight appearances from May 4-7, 2009.

"There's a good chance I've got to give him tomorrow [off]," Collins said, tongue in cheek.

Maybe some people in the Mets' hierarchy hope K-Rod gets a few days off. After all, if he finishes 55 games this season, that will trigger a $17.5 million option for 2012.

With the save on Saturday, Rodriguez finished his 11th game. He also moved into a tie with Neil Allen for seventh place on the club's all-time save list with 69.

He needs 44 games finished in the Mets' remaining 129 games for his contract to vest for next season. K-Rod is on pace for 54 games finished, one shy of the trigger for the contract to vest.

GM Sandy Alderson has said the vesting option would play no role in how the team uses Rodriguez.