Miami Marlins

Lights-out reliever Fernando Rodney likes keeping things loose

The Marlins thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Sunday’s historic game at Fort Bragg and, led by reliever Fernando Rodney, danced a little bit before beating the Braves.
The Marlins thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Sunday’s historic game at Fort Bragg and, led by reliever Fernando Rodney, danced a little bit before beating the Braves. AP

The Marlins’ cherished every moment of their Fort Bragg experience.

That included the one where Fernando Rodney danced.

After tossing a scoreless eighth inning Sunday, Rodney stopped halfway to the dugout and kicked his legs, dancing to the beat of Cotton-Eye Joe by Rednex.

“One thing you like about Fernando is he plays really loose,” A.J. Ramos said. “He never takes himself too seriously.”

The song, which debuted in 1995, is played often at numerous athletic venues throughout the country, is late in games at Turner Field. Since Sunday’s historic game at Fort Bragg counted as a home game for the Braves, the in-game music was handled by the same crew from Atlanta.

A couple of the Marlins, including Jose Fernandez, took a cue from Rodney and danced with him in the dugout when he got back.

Rodney’s second relief appearance since being traded to the Marlins last Thursday contributed to a 5-2 victory over the Braves in what was the first professional sports regular-season game played on an active military base.

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“[Rodney] obviously goes out there to compete to the highest level he can, but he always keeps it loose and that’s a great thing to have in the clubhouse,” Ramos said.

MEMORABLE TRIP

Several Marlins said they had “goosebumps” from the pregame festivities to the entire atmosphere of Sunday’s historic game.

Although it was not a save situation, Ramos said he really wanted to pitch Sunday.

“It was awesome,” Ramos said. “To get to play on a base in front of all those troops and hang out with a lot of them before. You’re tired a little bit today, but it was well worth it.”

J.T. Realmuto, Christian Yelich and Martin Prado each had three hits in the game. Realmuto became the first and only player to hit a home run at Fort Bragg Field with his solo blast in the ninth inning.

But Realmuto said his performance at the plate was not his biggest takeaway from the entire experience.

“Honestly, the biggest memory of this whole experience was what I got to do this morning, hanging out with the troops and going to see the special forces, and seeing what they do every day for this country,” Realmuto said. “I’ll definitely remember that the rest of my life.”

ALL-STAR CANDIDATES

The All-Star rosters are set to be announced at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.

Fernandez (10-4, 2.69 ERA) appears to be the most likely candidate for the Marlins, who also have Ramos (24 saves in 25 chances entering Monday) among potential pitchers, and five of their every day position players hitting .300 or better.

Among the prolific hitters is Marcell Ozuna, who is in the midst of a major turnaround season.

THIS AND THAT

Justin Bour was out of the lineup for the second game in a row with a sore right ankle. Bour left Saturday’s game in the sixth inning after awkwardly planting his foot on a play at first base. Johnson started in his place at first.

COMING UP

▪ Tuesday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (4-3, 5.11 ERA) vs. LHP Steven Matz (7-3, 3.40 ERA), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.

▪ Wednesday: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (2-4, 5.34 ERA) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (4-4, 2.62 ERA), 1:10 p.m., Citi Field.

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