Twins closer Fernando Rodney leaves game early to become U.S. citizen

Minnesota Twins closer Fernando Rodney is used to coming into games in the ninth inning to get the final three outs. But in an unusual move, Twins manager Paul Molitor summoned Rodney to replace starter Fernando Romero in the fifth inning in a game on Sunday. Rodney then left the game early.

Was it a new-age strategy? No, Rodney had a flight to catch so the Dominican Republic native could be in Miami on Monday for an immigration hearing.

Rodney thanked the team in an Instagram post Monday for allowing him to catch his flight -- and revealed he is now a U.S. citizen.

"Today I fly the American Flag but in my heart always hold my Dominican Flag.," 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."

The Twins won Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays 11-7.