Fi­nally, at 40, Rhodes gets to be an All-Star

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

ANA­HEIM, Calif. — Arthur Rhodes re­cently got sum­moned to man­ager Dusty Baker’s of­fice for the news: The Cincin­nati Reds were trad­ing him to the New York Mets.

It was a joke. Yet, the way his jour­ney­man ca­reer has gone, Rhodes be­lieved it. And why not?

“He al­ready had the team picked out,” Rhodes said. “I was a lit­tle emo­tional.”

Then Baker gave Rhodes the real mes­sage. He was go­ing to a new team, all right — his first All-Star team, at age 40.

The re­liever is still re­ceiv­ing and re­spond­ing to con­grat­u­la­tory text mes­sages from for­mer team­mates and friends around the ma­jors.

Ev­ery­body seems to be thrilled for Rhodes, who thought he would be picked to pitch in a Midsummer Clas­sic well be­fore his 19th big league sea­son. Like in 2001, when the left-han­der went 8-0 for Seat­tle, with five of those wins be­fore the break as the Mari- ners rolled to an AL-record 116 vic­to­ries. Or dur­ing his 10-4 cam­paign in 2002.

“I didn’t know it was go­ing to take this long,” Rhodes said. “Now it’s 2010 and I made it, and I’m so proud of my­self. I’m 40 years old and I go out there and work hard ev­ery day. It was a long time, but now I’m here, and I’m happy.”

Rhodes, 3-3 with a 1.54 ERA in 41 out­ings for the Reds this year, fought emo­tion as he de­scribed what it’s like to fi­nally be suit­ing up along­side the game’s biggest names for the All-Star game.

He’s come a long way from his early days in Bal­ti­more when there were ques­tions whether he would last for the long haul — and, if so, in what role. Starter, long man, closer, he’s han­dled ev­ery job there is. He was will­ing to do any­thing asked of him to keep his place.

Six teams later, at the tail end of a ca­reer that be­gan in­aus­pi­ciously with the Ori­oles back in Au­gust 1991, Rhodes can for­ever call him­self an Al­lS­tar. It’s ob­vi­ous he’s one of the hap­pi­est guys here.

“This whole ex­pe­ri­ence is won­der­ful. I’m soak­ing it all in,” he said. “I’m hav­ing the best time of my life right now. I’m just go­ing to en­joy ev­ery moment that I can.

“But I re­ally hope I get a chance to pitch. That would be the ic­ing on the cake.’’

Paul J. Bereswell AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cincin­nati Reds pitcher Arthur Rhodes is 3-3 with a 1.54 earne­drun av­er­age this sea­son, his 19th in the ma­jor leagues.

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