BALTIMORE -- Fernando Rodney pitched in a non-save situation in Wednesday night's win over the Orioles, but he needed the work -- and the Rays needed the win.
The team's closer has not been used much this season because the Rays have not been in many save situations. During Spring Training, manager Joe Maddon expressed some concern about Rodney's work in the World Baseball Classic, where he recorded the final out in all eight of the Dominican Republic's wins en route to the Classic title. But lately the concerns of overuse have transitioned to concerns about rust.
"From the one side, he has not been overworked," Maddon said. "And from the other side, he had such a great edge coming out of the WBC, the concern was, 'How was he going to channel that? What was it going to be like?'"
"If you're from the Dominican Republic and you participated in a world championship and won it, that's pretty significant down there," Maddon added. "There is a lot of emotion that courses through people like him, as a player as well as the population there. So I didn't know how this would play itself out. I would like to think as we get more successful and get him into more games consecutively, that he'll get back to what he looked like at the end of last season."
Maddon said Rodney's pitching during the Classic was similar as it was in 2012. However, there has been a benefit from using Rodney less during the early part of the season.
"I think in a perverse way, it's been accomplished that he has not been abused coming out of that, and we can use him normally the rest of the season now because he caught a break," Maddon said.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.