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Tampa Bay Rays’ Rodney says WBC workload not a concern

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Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM
PORT CHARLOTTE -

Fernando Rodney returned to the Tampa Bay Rays this morning, proudly displaying his World Baseball Classic championship medal.

While the Rays are concerned with Rodney?s heavy workload during the tournament – he appeared in all eight games for the Dominican Republic – Rodney said it won?t be a problem.

?No, I feel great,? he said.

Rays manager Joe Maddon voiced his concern Wednesday night before the game with the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers was rained out.

?Do we keep more of an eye on him or do you just parcel out his work a little bit more in the beginning? I don?t know,? Maddon said. ?Does it really benefit him during the course of the year somehow? Does it get us off to a better start? I don?t know. But I think long range, by the end of the season, you almost have to count these appearances to the total number, so you have to really watch August and September.?

Rodney would have not pitched more than nine times if this had been a typical spring training. He made three appearances with the Rays before joining the Dominican team. Add the WBC work and he has pitched 11 times since the start of camp, and that doesn?t include his innings during winter ball to prepare for the WBC.

?I?m ready to go right now for the season,? Rodney said. ?I feel good. I started in November. I started working because I wanted to represent my country 100 percent.?

But will the early innings work against Rodney later in the regular season? He said no.

?I don?t think about September,? he said. ?I think about April.?

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