The Phillies have developed a knack for finding quality bullpen help.
They signed lefthander J.C. Romero as a minor-league free agent on June 20 of last year. He went 1-2 with a 1.24 ERA in 51 appearances last season and is 4-1 with a 1.52 ERA this year.
They had similar luck with righthander Rudy Seanez, who was signed as a free agent on April 2 after the Los Angeles Dodgers released him. He is 3-3 with a 2.38 ERA in 20 appearances. Going into last night's game, opponents were hitting just .224 against him.
Seanez, 39, has been in the majors since 1989. He has pitched for nine teams: the Indians, Padres (four times), Dodgers (twice), Braves (twice), Rangers, Red Sox (twice), Royals, Marlins and Phillies.
Readers of The Inquirer's Phillies blog - The Phillies Zone (
) - submitted questions last week for Seanez, a mixed-martial-arts enthusiast. He answered them before the June 5 game against Cincinnati at Citizens Bank Park. Check the blog every week to find out that week's Q&A participant.
Here's what Seanez had to say:
Question: Have you noticed any difference between batters in the National League and the American League? I just heard an interview with Johan Santana in which he said NL batters were more aggressive and more likely to swing on the first pitch.
I think the opposite is true. I think American League hitters are more aggressive than National League hitters. That's what I find. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just the pitcher, but I always thought the American League hitters were more aggressive. They tend to pull more as opposed to, "I'm behind in the count, so I'm going to try to hit the ball the other way." They tend to go for more. . . . To me, it just seems like they're trying to hit more home runs than National League guys are.
Is it difficult to move from one team to another so often?
No, actually. It's not hard at all, the only reason being that I know a lot of people. I know almost everybody now. But it's hard to find somewhere to live. That's hard. That's the hardest part.
How do relief pitchers pass time in the bullpen?
We just talk about hitters, pitchers, and baseball in general. Anything that passes the time. A wide range of things from movies to . . . basically everything.
Are you ranked in Brazilian jujitsu? Who do you train with in San Diego? Do you train in Philly, and if so, with whom?
I'm trained in Brazilian and Japanese, but I like the Brazilian better. Japanese tends to do a lot more standing up and things like that. For me, from my experience, I just don't like some of the stuff that they do standing up. I like the floor, and closer contact. I like Brazilian better. I train, but here in Philly there are a couple of places I'm looking at right now. I'll find out here soon. This is a big place for MMA around here, Philly and Jersey. I didn't know that.
Kimbo Slice vs. Brock Lesnar, who wins?
I don't know. That's a good one. I'd like to see that. That'd be a good matchup. I'm going to say Brock. Brock is just crazy strong. He's more experienced. I'm going to say he's probably the better athlete, too, just because he's done so much more. He's more versed in the ground game, and I think that is where it'd end up anyway. So I'm saying Brock, but probably not by much.
Former Phillies pitcher Eric Milton had the logo of every team he played for tattooed on his body. Have you done that?
No, never. Never, never, never. I've got some tattoos, but nothing like that, team-wise. I've got 10 tattoos. I've got a trinity symbol, dragon, tiger, hana mask, cross, rose and thorns on the right arm and a warrior and dragon on the left. They're just all different things.