Closer R.J. Rodriguez is returning to the York Revolution.
The two-time defending Atlantic League champion Revs have re-signed Rodriguez for the 2012 season, it was announced Wednesday by Manager Andy Etchebarren. Rodriguez is the 15th player signed by the Revs for the upcoming season, and the ninth returning member of last year's championship club.
Rodriguez will enter his third season with York and is tied for second in Revs' history in career saves with 18 over the last two years. The Miami native first joined the Revs in May, 2010, and made an immediate impact, helping transform the bullpen into one of the league's top units. Rodriguez eventually took over the closer role that season and saved eight games, earned a pair of wins, and posted a 2.51 ERA in his first season with the club. He followed that up with three more wins and 10 saves last season with a 3.61 ERA.
Pitching coach Mark Mason is happy to have Rodriguez back.
"He is a proven closer in this league and helps solidify the back end of our bullpen," Mason said. "When the game is on the line, he wants the ball and rises to the occasion."
Rodriguez enjoyed a 13 2/3-inning scoreless streak in June, the longest by any reliever on last year's team. He was nearly perfect for a lengthy stretch in June, retiring 23 of 24 batters at one point. Rodriguez was also solid late in the season in helping the Revs wrap up another playoff berth, earning five saves in six days from Sept. 8-13.
The right-hander originally signed with San Diego in 2006, spending three years in the Padres' organization, and also pitched in the Pittsburgh Pirates' farm system in 2009, leading the Carolina League in saves with 27 for Lynchburg. Rodriguez owns 90 saves for his pro career.
Rodriguez spent the offseason pitching in the Puerto Rican Winter League for Leones de Ponce for the third consecutive year, leading the league with 11 saves, while holding a 2.74 ERA.