Passing 40 saves, Rodney now seeks 50

Mariners closer four shy of club record, enjoys role on contending team

Passing 40 saves, Rodney now seeks 50

OAKLAND -- Fernando Rodney became just the third Mariners closer to record 40 saves in a season Tuesday, and he is now four shy of the club record set by Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2001 after logging his 41st save in Wednesday's 2-1 win over the A's.

Rodney saved 48 games with the Rays in 2012, and the 37-year-old understands the significance of hitting 40 for any closer.

"That is a good number," he said with a smile. "Every time I come out, I try to do my best to help my teammates. I just try to take advantage of every opportunity that I have.

"When you start out, you say 30 is a good number. Then you keep rolling and keep rolling and you get 40. I'd say 50 would be good now."

Manager Lloyd McClendon said Rodney's value as an established closer has been felt throughout a bullpen that led the American League with a 2.43 ERA heading into Wednesday.

"It's huge," McClendon said. "To have that type of stability down there and a guy you know you can count on night in and night out -- and obviously it drops everybody else down into a different slot and gives them a chance to relax, grow and be successful -- it's been big for us."

Rodney is relishing his role on a team fighting for its first playoff berth since 2001.

"For me, this is the part of the game I want to play and see," he said. "I want to be there every night and compete and go to the postseason. That's the moment for me."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.