PHILADELPHIA -- If Rudy Seanez's phone didn't ring by Monday, the 39-year-old veteran of 16 Major League seasons said he would've survived. He'd simply retire and pursue a second career of becoming an ultimate fighter. Seriously. "I was pretty much done,'" Seanez said "I was going to stay in shape until Sunday night, and if nobody called by Monday, I was done, man."
Instead, the Phillies called and Seanez joined his ninth different big league team. The righty, who agreed to a deal with the Phils on Monday, passed his physical on Wednesday after clearing waivers from the Dodgers. Philadelphia will pay less than $550,000 for a pitcher who posted a 3.79 ERA in a career-high 73 appearances last season. Seanez will put off the pursuit of ultimate fighting that began a decade ago -- he has trained in San Diego and met more people through Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny in Los Angeles -- and continue his pitching career. The right-hander is an ultimate fighter is the baseball sense, surviving numerous arm injuries to stick around. He was out of baseball in 1992 and spent 1996-97 in the Minor Leagues. "I don't know. I just keep coming back, that's all," Seanez said. He's gone from a hard-throwing 18-year-old to a savvy veteran who uses his velocity sparingly. Manager Charlie Manuel, who seems to know everyone who ever wore a uniform, remembers the kid who began his career with the Indians. "He uses his knowledge and experience more now," Manuel said. "Before, he used to wind up and let it go. When I had him [in Triple-A], he threw 100 [mph]. When we had him warming up at Colorado Springs, our mound was on the right-field line and we were in the dugout. When we made him the closer, he'd be whisking balls right by my head. I'd tell someone to tell Seanez to sit down." Seanez said he isn't upset with the Dodgers for releasing him -- especially after his 2007 season -- and is thrilled to join a team with similar playoff aspirations. "Not at all. It's a business," he said. "They were going one way and I wasn't in the plans. I've been around long enough. My feelings weren't going to get hurt." The Phillies initially passed on Seanez through the waiver process, then swooped in on him as a free agent. Discussions began Friday and were finalized Monday. "I'm pretty confident I can still pitch," Seanez said. "Otherwise, I wouldn't be here." The ultimate fighting will have to wait.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.