Notes: Seanez is club's 38 Special
Saenz, Clark get in the game; Schmidt tests shoulder in 'pen
LOS ANGELES -- At 38 years old, Rudy Seanez has had to answer the same question over and over again this season:How has your age affected your game and your approach? And over and over again, he shrugs and says, "Honestly, I don't even think about the age thing." Seanez hasn't shown his age so far this season, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.70 ERA in 23 1/3 innings, and three times this season the veteran reliever has pitched two or more innings. "It's mainly part of my conditioning in the offseason," Seanez said. "I'm really in tune with my body and I've changed some things -- like my nutrition." Whatever he is doing, it's working, and the Dodgers have been thankful to have Seanez in the bullpen. Seanez still hits 93 mph on the radar gun and his ability to eat up innings has been crucial. "Rudy gets himself ready and when we ask him to take the ball he gives us good production," manager Grady Little said. "He makes a lot of sacrifices to keep himself in the condition he is in, and he is a valuable part of this team." In addition to his offseason conditioning, which includes martial arts training, Seanez has learned when to turn it up and when to shut himself down. "You have to know when to open up the throttle, but at the same time you have to know when to shut it down," Seanez said. "I better know what I'm doing. I have to save my bullets." Furcal back: Shortstop Rafael Furcal was back in the lineup Sunday afternoon after sitting out Saturday's game with a sore knee. The knee is the same one that Furcal had arthroscopic surgery on in January 2006. Little said that it was a one-day thing and that he didn't feel it would be necessary to monitor Furcal's knee on daily basis. Saenz and Clark in: Olmedo Saenz made his fifth start of the season on Sunday and his second start at first base in place of Nomar Garciaparra, who got a scheduled day off. Saenz -- who had a pinch-hit in each of the first two games of the series -- began the day hitting .244 (10-for-41) with two homers, seven RBIs and three doubles. Outfielder Brady Clark got the start in right field in place of Andre Ethier. This is Clark's eighth start of the season and his fifth in right field. Clark entered hitting .250 with four RBIs and four doubles this season. "Were taking this opportunity against a lefty to get Brady out there," said Little, with the Cubs starting Rich Hill. "I can't wait to see what happens." In a pinch: Dodgers pinch-hitters went 2-for-4 Saturday and 1-for-1 Friday with two walks, improving the team's average off the bench to .266 (17-for-64), good for third in the National League. Since joining the Dodgers in 2004, Saenz has 41 pinch-hits, fifth most in baseball in that span. Teammate Marlon Anderson, who is on the disabled list, leads the Majors with 54 pinch-hits during that span. "It's a tough job. They sit here and watch the game for six or seven innings and then come off the bench and hit," Little said. "It's hard to put a figure on what it's worth for a ballclub."
Schmidt feeling better: Starting pitcher Jason Schmidt, who has been sidelined with shoulder bursitis, threw a bullpen session before Sunday's game and, according to Little, he looked good.Schmidt came down with the flu on Thursday and was away from the team for a few days while he recovered. He threw 50-60 pitches and Little said the next step will be determined Monday. Coming up: The Dodgers have an off-day Monday before embarking on a 10-game road trip that begins in Washington and ends in San Diego. The Dodgers will send Brad Penny (6-1, 2.26 ERA) to the mound against the Nationals' Jason Simontacchi (2-2, 4.37) on Tuesday at 4:05 p.m. PT.
Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.