Meadville Tribune

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February 23, 2006

Rage in a cage

Red Sox relief pitcher Seanez keeps busy

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rudy Seanez refuses to ride motorcycles, and insects make his heavily-tattooed skin crawl. But before you start imagining just another pampered baseball-playing professional, there is one thing you should know about the Red Sox’s new reliever.

“There is probably something wrong with me,” the affable 37-year-old said with a smirk.

After hearing what Seanez has spent his time immersing himself the last few months, it’s hard to argue with his analysis.

For the second straight offseason the hurler has exercised his right pitching arm in an utterly unique fashion. After all, punching people for hours at a time isn’t exactly a chapter in the Baseball Conditioning for Dummies handbook.

“It’s great for conditioning, competition, and gives you extreme confidence,” said Seanez of his winter workout regimen, ultimate fighting, a cross between boxing and martial arts. “You’re going up there against guys who are doing this for a living. That should tell you right there that you don’t have anything to worry about, whether it’s on the field or off the field.”

Seanez has been doing something right since entering the realm of the punching and kicking ultimate fighters. Last season, his 14th in the bigs, the Brawley, Calif., native turned in his best year, going 7-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 57 games with San Diego.

It was enough to encourage the Red Sox to re-sign Seanez (who played in Boston for nine games in 2003), reuniting him with an old friend from the days in the Cleveland camp, Sox manager Terry Francona.

“I remember him being 18-years-old in Tucson, Arizona, throwing about 100 mph with every third one coming at your neck,” Francona recalled. “Now he’s learned to make adjustments. He’s a professional. You don’t survive in this game without making adjustments.”

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