comScore

Twins closer Fernando Rodney just earned his U.S. citizenship

Congrats!

Congrats! Instagram: @fernandorodney3635

If you're anything like me, you read the Twins-Tampa Bay Rays box score on Sunday evening, saw that Fernando Rodney pitched two scoreless outs in the fifth inning, figuratively scratched your head, then resumed watching Jaws

Now we know why Rodney -- who hasn't appeared before the sixth inning since 2005 -- entered so early: The Dominican-born closer, 41, had to catch a plane to Florida, where he earned his U.S. citizenship early Monday. 

"To be honest with you [Rodney pitching early] wasn’t about being overly strategic," Twins manager Paul Molitor told reporters after the 11-7 victory. "It wasn’t something that we really talked about before the game, but he needs to be in Miami for an immigration hearing tomorrow morning. It worked out pretty well because he got a couple of really big outs."

Rodney documented his newfound citizenship earlier today via Instagram.

"After 19 years in this wonderful country today I am blessed to say that I am an official US Citizen," he writes. "Today I fly the American Flag but in my heart always hold my Dominican Flag. I want to thank all those who have been with me throughout the process and especially thank the @twins organizations for allowing me to catch my flight. Big thanks to the @tigers who made this dream possible 19 years ago."  

Endearingly nicknamed "The Fernando Rodney Experience" due to his effective-yet-heartstopping style, Rodney has secured 21 saves in 26 opportunities this year. The three-time All Star's name is popping up in trade deadline rumors, so appreciate his flame-throwing theatrics in Minnesota while you can. 

Following Sunday's win, the Twins enter the All-Star break with a disappointing 44-50 record. The second half their season kicks off Friday with a three-game series in Kansas City; the team won't return to Target Field -- which is now free from problematic pizzas -- until July 30.