By Shannon Drayer
ATLANTA – Fans saw it on TV and tweeted about.
Mariners officials saw it and called and texted anyone in the dugout who might have a phone on them.
Finally, someone in the bullpen saw it.
“We didn’t notice it at first, that was the best part,” reliever Charlie Furbush said. “He’s warming up, whatever. Then we were like, uh oh, wait a minute, wait a minute.”
Yoervis Medina was the first to notice and approach closer Fernando Rodney as he was warming up to come into the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Braves. One of these relievers was not like the others.
Medina told Rodney and someone told bullpen coach Mike Rojas. Rodney was wearing his batting-practice jersey. His game jersey was back in the clubhouse in his locker and there were two outs in the top of the ninth inning, just seconds away from the innings break. A call was made to the dugout and Rodney kept throwing.
“At first we were like, oh no,” Furbush said. “And then whatever, it doesn’t matter, he’s still got this.”
Why should this be like any other Rodney save? They are hardly uneventful, after all.
“It was on the wrong side (of the locker),” Rodney explained after the Mariners’ 7-5 win. “When I looked at my locker I didn’t see my jersey. I put this one on, go out, and with two out in the ninth Medina comes in and (indicates he has the wrong jersey on).”
With the TV break about to start, a call from the bullpen to the dugout was made. A clubbie ran back to the clubhouse to find the dugout and then the handoff to the ball boy, who made the epic spring to the bullpen to get Rodney his jersey as TV was coming back from the break. Rick Rizzs noted that there seemed to be a bit of a delay out of the break and manager Lloyd McClendon was seen chatting with the umpire. Rodney then finally came sprinting out of the bullpen in his game jersey, unfazed by the sequence of events.
“I never, never saw that it was the wrong jersey. Just when they come to me, and I see the star that they have here, (the compass rose on the front of the batting-practice jersey) that’s not the right one,” he said before pausing and brightening up with a big smile. “But that’s a good one, it got the win!”
“He changed real quick,” Furbush said, “went and got a save. Badda bing, badda boom.”