Twins allow Fernando Rodney to leave game early so he can become a United States citizen

After 16 years in MLB and 321 saves, Twins closer Fernando Rodney is a United States citizen. The Dominican Republic native posted that he became a citizen Monday morning in the Miami area.

Rodney got two outs in the fifth on Sunday and then flew to Miami

Rodney, 41, normally closes for the Twins, but on Sunday afternoon, he needed to catch a flight to Miami so that he could go to his immigration hearing Monday morning. So with the Twins down 4-1 in the fifth inning and runners on second and third, manager Paul Molitor called on Rodney to put out the fire. And he did just that, getting a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat. Then he left Target Field and headed for the airport.

The Twins would go on to win 11-7.

“He had a flight that he had to catch and all that kind of stuff so we had postponed it a couple of times, trying to get it a time that was more feasible, but it turned out tomorrow was the only day and so [we] got him in the game a little earlier,” Molitor said. “It worked out pretty well because he got a couple of really big outs.”

Rodney has only pitched in the fifth inning one other time: way back in July, 2005.

Rodney debuted in the MLB in 2002

The Tigers signed Rodney as a free agent in 1997, and he made his major league debut for the team on May 4, 2002 (though he didn’t exceed rookie limits until 2005).

Over his 16 seasons in MLB, Rodney has pitched for the Tigers, Angels, Rays, Mariners, Cubs, Padres, Marlins, Diamondbacks and Twins. He’s collected 321 saves — tied for 18th all time — while pitching to the tune of a 3.70 ERA. He has 21 saves this year for the Twins. Along the way, he invented his “bow and arrow” pose following a successful save outing, a routine he first performed in 2012.

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Fernando Rodney became a United States citizen on Monday morning. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Fernando Rodney became a United States citizen on Monday morning. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)