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Rodriguez Reports to Angels Camp

February 24, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) _ Closer Francisco Rodriguez arrive at spring training Friday, joining his Los Angeles Angels teammates nine days after the team’s voluntary reporting date for pitchers and catchers.

The 24-year-old right-hander was initially delayed because of ailing aunt in Cuba and then had visa problems in his native Venezuela.

``It was a very unfortunate situation and one that we couldn’t control,″ Rodriguez said.

The mandatory reporting date is next Tuesday, 33 days before the major league season opener, but most players arrive early.

``We set these dates to make sure that we have enough time to get everybody ready,″ Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``Nobody likes it when a guy’s not here in camp. You want all your guys to be on time. We’ll just move on and do what we have to next year.″

Rodriguez was 2-5 with a 2.67 ERA and 45 saves in 50 chances last season _ his first year as the Angels’ closer.

Rodriguez said he made 15 appearances in winter baseball and last pitched off a mound Feb. 6 during the Caribbean World Series.

``As far as conditioning, I feel great,″ he said. ``We’ll see how my body responds after today’s workout, and we’ll start over once again. Right now, my focus is to be ready on time.″

Rodriguez is set to pitch for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Scioscia said Friday that ace Bartolo Colon will be available to pitch in a charity game on Thursday against Milwaukee before leaving to pitch for the Dominican Republic.

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