By John Philip Wyllie
Relief pitcher Rudy Seanez didn’t know quite what to expect when he was acquired during the off-season for his third tour of duty with the Padres from the dreadful Kansas City Royals. At 36 and with a lifetime E.R.A. of 4.37 there was no reason to believe that the stocky reliever would be any more than a marginal contributor. As it turns out, Seanez is having a banner year. He led all major league relievers in strikeouts throughout June with 53 and he whittled his E.R.A. down to an impressive 2.43. His presence has made an already good bullpen that much stronger. As a unit the Padres bullpen leads the majors in strikeouts with 218. Its strength has helped to keep them atop of the NL West.
“I always felt good before, but this year has been a lot different. I’ve been able to go out there and throw and not be as sore the next day. I recuperate a lot faster,” Seanez said after his Padres split a home series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During the off-season he immersed himself in a rigorous training regimen of pumping iron and performing Ju-Jitsu.
“I was just hoping to stay healthy. I had no idea I would be feeling this good. I’ve cut back a little from my off-season workout, but I have kept it up. (The combination of Ju-Jitsu and weight lifting) has hit the nail right on the head.”
Seanez has had to contend with some serious injuries during his 17-year professional career. In 2000, he had “Tommy John” surgery on his right elbow. Two years later he developed shoulder and back problems which eventually landed him in the hospital for a herniated disc repair. He is hoping that his physical conditioning will help him to ward off any further visits to the operating table.
While the Seanez family has been living on this side of the border since his great-grandparents emigrated from Mexico, Seanez retains pride in his Mexican heritage. He spent three seasons playing baseball in the Mexican League and one in the Dominican Republic. In the off-season, he and his wife Dianna have demonstrated a willingness to contribute to the El Centro community in which they live.
Seanez is delighted to be back in San Diego and loves the “all for one, one for all” atmosphere that exists within the team. “On this team everybody is pulling for one another,” he said. Despite his many years of experience, Seanez has never stopped developing his craft.
“Every now and then somebody will ask me a question, but I am still learning myself. I’ll often ask our other pitchers how they pitch to certain hitters and what they might do in a certain situation. It helps me out tremendously.”