Use of K-Rod tied to Mets' pursestrings

New York Mets relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (75)

New York Mets relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (75) throws in the ninth inning during a baseball game against the Florida Marlins in Miami, Saturday, April 2, 2011. Rodriguez got the win as the Mets defeated the Marlins 6-4 in ten innings. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) Photo Credit: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

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MIAMI -- The complicated life of Francisco Rodriguez got a little messier Saturday night when the Mets' troubled closer suffered a blown save in his season debut and first appearance since Aug. 14.

Not only did he fail in his first opportunity -- when the Marlins tied the score in the ninth inning -- but he was denied the chance to redeem himself in the 10th. With his spot in the order up, manager Terry Collins opted for a pinch hitter, and that was a double whammy for K-Rod.

"I create it, I clean it up," Rodriguez said, repeating his mantra for such situations. "I've got to wipe it off and tomorrow's another day. I've never had a problem in the past with that. Tomorrow I'll try to get revenge."

Rodriguez wound up with the win in the Mets' 6-4 victory, but he did not get a save or a finish. The latter means Rodriguez remains 55 finishes away from his vesting option of $17.5 million for 2012.

Called on to protect a 3-2 lead, Rodriguez whiffed Logan Morrison. But John Buck followed with a single, and after another strikeout, Emilio Bonifacio's single put runners at first and third. Next up was pinch hitter Greg Dobbs, and he slapped the first pitch into center for the tying single.

Collins said he intended to send out Rodriguez for the 10th, then changed his mind when his spot in the order came up. What if he did get to the plate? "It was a billion-to-one chance," Rodriguez said, laughing. "I still have a chance, though. If I see [the ball], I'm going to swing, and if I hit it -- good luck."

Collins replaced him with pinch hitter Scott Hairston and saved Rodriguez for Sunday's series finale. In the future, however, denying Rodriguez an opportunity to finish will be scrutinized because of K-Rod's earning potential.

"He did want to go back in the game," Collins said. "He understood, but he wanted to go back out there."

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