"In the past, he had a fastball and slider, and you could eliminate one pitch and sit on the other. Now, he has three pitches and you can't sit on anything. And he still has that violent motion."Somehow, and don't ask the twice-injured Putz this season just how, K-Rod has managed to stay healthy even with his arms and legs going in all kinds of directions at the same time. "Whatever it is, it's working," Putz said, shaking his head. But the Mariners' closer is quick to point out that Rodriguez has received an abundance of support from a strong cast of teammates in the bullpen. "Some of the credit for K-Rod's success is guys like Jose Arredondo [1.38 ERA], Scot Shields [2.57 ERA] and Darren Oliver [2.97 ERA]," Putz said. "Without those guys having the years they're having, [Rodriguez] wouldn't have as many saves as he does." Shields leads the Angels with 28 "holds," Arredondo has 15 and Oliver 11. As good as K-Rod has been this season, and he's considered an American League Most Valuable Player candidate, Putz still believes Yankees right-hander Mariano Rivera is the top closer in the AL. "Mariano is still dominant with one pitch [cutter]," J.J. said. "Everyone knows what's coming and they still can't hit it."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.