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Can K-Rod strike out anger?

Anger management programs, such as the one Mets pitcher Francisco Rodriguez has reportedly been attending, can be highly effective for athletes who have displayed rage, New Jersey psychotherapist Jay P. Granat.

Rodriguez has been in the court-ordered anger management after pummeling his girlfriend’s father last August in a waiting area for players at Citi Field.

"Frustration and depression are frequent precursors for the rage,’’ Granat, founder of stayinthezone.com, told Newsday. ``Having a bad day the office, having an argument with your wife before you go to the field. They need to understand the rage is usually proceeded by some frustration, sadness or depression. We teach the person alternative ways of managing their anger.

"One thing I frequently teach is some combination of self-hypnosis, meditation, visualization, the idea being that they can think of anger being a balloon filled with air. If they practice these exercises on a daily basis the balloon is not going to get so full and they can also use these techniques when they feel themselves getting a little bit out of control.’’

Grant said athletes learn that self-control is the key to performance, not rage. "I think he would need to say 'Anger gets in the way of my well being on and off the field.’ Once they get the idea that anger hurts them not only with their coaches and the law, it hurts their peformance, they start to get it. I’ve learned it hurts my career, hurts my image with the fans, my family and I don’t feel good in these rages and I’ve learned techniques to manage my anger more effectively.’’

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