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Orioles analysis: K-Rod aims to provide Orioles some relief

BALTIMORE - Nearly all of the relief pitchers in the Baltimore Orioles bullpen have been tagged with a nickname.
T.J. McFarland is Bob, Troy Patton is El Canario, and Tommy Hunter is Boom, just to name a few.
The Orioles' newest addition to the bullpen came in with a nickname already in place.
Francisco Rodriguez has been "K-Rod" since early in his career, as "K" is the scoring symbol for a strikeout. The former Angels, Mets and Brewers closer has accumulated plenty of those over the years.
And it doesn't look like he's getting a new moniker anytime soon.
"I'm not going to infringe on him in any way, shape, or form," Patton said. "He can do whatever he wants. I'm not going to be in charge of coining a nickname."
With the resume that Rodriguez has, he has earned that kind of respect. The 31-year-old has 304 career saves including a record 62 saves for the Angels in 2008. He owns a 2.04 career ERA.
Rodriguez most likely won't be asked to close, for now, but he will be another valuable asset for the back end of the Baltimore bullpen.
"I knew I was getting traded, but the Orioles surprised me," Rodriguez said. "When I realized this ballclub was in the playoff hunt, I got excited because I knew I got a chance to be in the postseason once again."
K-Rod has been there many times before. He pitched in five postseasons with the Angels and in the 2011 playoffs with the Brewers.
He also pitched in four World Series games in 2002, including three shutout innings in Game 2, as the Angels took home the championship.
"He's pitched in every kind of situation you can imagine," Patton said. "He brings uber amount of experience to the table and a veteran presence."
Rodriguez was having a comeback season for the Brewers, as he went 1-1 with a 1.09 ERA and 10 saves in 25 appearances. That was much better than last season, when he went 2-7 with a 4.38 ERA for Milwaukee.
After his worst season in the majors, Rodriguez wasn't even on a team when this season began. He re-signed with Milwaukee on a minor-league deal on April 17.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he feels Rodriguez will continue to be successful in Baltimore.
"Frankie's got a track record, he's got some pedigree," Showalter said. "There's a lot of things that show that he can help us. We did our homework and Frankie ain't scared. He's going to let her rip."
Baltimore closer Jim Johnson has struggled this year after having a record season in 2012. He's blown six saves and has seven losses.
Tommy Hunter was dominant for the Orioles in relief during the first half, but gave up six runs over his first three outings after the All-Star break and has pitched the fourth-most innings of relief in the majors. And Darren O'Day has also been used many times.
Rodriguez now gives Baltimore more flexibility late in games.
"I'm not here to take nobody's job," Rodriguez said. "I'm here to take some pressure off the bullpen."
And he also knows the key to pitching well in critical situations late in the season.
"If you put pressure on yourself, there's no way you're going to perform at the level you're supposed to," Rodriguez said.
The right-hander made his Orioles debut Thursday against the Kansas City Royals.
He gave up a solo home run to Billy Butler, but Baltimore was already down 6-1. That was the lone blemish during his inning of work.
And based on his past success, his new teammates likely don't expect to see too many of those.
"The body of work he has in general is so impressive," Patton said. "It's always nice to get a guy who's had so many big innings against so many very tough opponents."

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