Just 12 hours after he collapsed due to violent, life-threatening, level five, achy breaky back spasms, Francisco Rodriguez(notes) was playing catch. His injury apparently isn't too severe. Here's K-Rod, via MLB.com:
"Man, that was really painful," Rodriguez said. "I've never experienced anything like this before. I was struggling to walk yesterday, but I got some medicine, and I feel pretty good now."
Jerry Manuel says that Rodriguez's "availability is still undetermined at this point," but his owners clearly shouldn't panic.
Before we continue with the Memorial day top 500 countdown, let's update a few other closing situations, bullet-style.
• We don't have an official closer in Tampa Bay, just a terrifying committee. As we've already discussed, Jason Isringhausen(notes) was in line to get the first post-Percival save opportunity, but a six-run Rays' ninth interfered. I've rostered Dan Wheeler(notes), though my confidence is not high.
Update (7:15 AM, May 26): Naturally, Isringhausen was a wreck in his first official save opportunity for Tampa Bay. It was the Rays' signature loss of 2009. Let's turn to the Yahoo! box score for details:
Isringhausen faced four batters, walking the first three, then giving up the game-winning hit to Victor Martinez(notes). Grant Balfour(notes) wasn't exactly covered in glory, either (0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K). But as Scott mentioned in Monday's CT, not every member of the Rays' end-game committee had a share in the loss. Joe Nelson(notes) worked a perfect inning against the Tribe's 2-3-4 hitters, while JP Howell(notes) and Dan Wheeler were unavailable, having pitched on both Saturday and Sunday.
If you're speculating, Wheeler and Nelson would seem to be next in line. Howell has been excellent (2.86 ERA, 24 Ks in 22.0 IP), but he's also the Rays only reliable LHP, now that Brian Shouse(notes) is on the DL.
“We expect him to start running here in the next couple of days. We’re still probably weeks away from him being able to pitch in a game at the big league level.”
• Scott gave the Brad Lidge(notes) (bad) situation a thorough review on Sunday, so please check it out. Lidge received a vote of confidence from Charlie Manuel; never a good sign if a vote is required.
Thanks for listening, thanks for calling. We continue out countdown with "Thunderstruck" at No. 65, after the spreadsheet...