Minnesota Twins closer Fernando Rodney left Sunday’s game early to become a U.S. citizen.
Rodney, 41, confirmed on his Instagram that he became an American citizen, after coming to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic 19 years ago.
"After 19 years in this wonderful country today I am blessed to say that I am an official US Citizen,” he wrote. “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."
Rodney posted a piciture of himself raising his right hand to take the Oath of Allegiance in Miami.
He then held up an American flag and posed next to a human-sized version of the Statue of Liberty in another photo.
“Today I fly the American Flag but in my heart always hold my Dominican Flag,” Rodney wrote on Instagram.
He told the Arizona Republic that he hopes to bring his family to the U.S.
“They give you the chance to bring your brothers and sisters,” Rodney said. “When you’re married, you can bring your wife, mother, father and kids, and now (that I'm a citizen) I have a chance to bring them, too. It’s like one more step to the future and maybe I can bring my family to the States.”
Rodney had not appeared before the sixth inning for 13 years, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Paul Molitor, Twins manager, explained his unorthodox move after the game, the report said.
“To be honest with you, it wasn’t about [strategy]. He needs to be in Miami for an immigration hearing [Monday] morning” that he couldn’t reschedule, Molitor reportedly said.
Rodney struck out Carlos Gomez on an 83 mph changeup, after throwing a 95 mph fastball, the paper reported. The Twins then rallied to an 11-7 win on Sunday.
"It worked out pretty well because he got a couple of really big outs," Molitor said, according to Tribune.