You asked (through Ben Goessling’s in-game chats), and Nats Buzz answered. We’ll try to do more of these throughout the season, featuring new faces and players who you don’t usually hear much about.
First up is Joel Peralta, new to the organization after stints with the Angels, Royals and Rockies. Peralta was called up to join the Nationals on June 21st after going 2-0 with 20 saves and a 1.08 ERA in 28 appearances with the Syracuse Chiefs.
Since the callup, Peralta has pitched in 13 innings for the Nationals and allowed one run while striking out 12.
The youngest of five children, Peralta was eager to get home to the Dominican Republic to visit his mother for the All-Star break.
Q. What’s your impression of Washington so far?
A. It’s been great. I’ve had a chance to play for three different teams before I got here. This is a bit different. The guys here are really good. The coaching staff, everybody has treated me really well so far. It’s been fun. And the fans have been great. Every time I come out of the bullpen, I hear a lot of cheering.
Q. What are some of your favorite places to play?
A. Because I was an American League guy, I like to play in Chicago. It’s a great city to go play. New York, obviously because of the fans there. Boston, those kinds of places. Last year, I played for the Colorado Rockies and I had a lot of fun there. It’s a great place to be too.
Q. Tell me a little bit about growing up and playing baseball in the Dominican.
A. Baseball is everything there. You grow up, you don’t have a glove or bat or ball, but you’re out on the field. That’s the good thing. You can play baseball all year round. We don’t have a winter there. It’s fun and it’s a beautiful country. But baseball is the main sport. They try to watch every game they can. They follow it a lot, the Major Leagues. Like soccer is to Europe, baseball is to the Dominican. Everybody follows it.
Q. Were there any players you looked up to growing up?
A. Pedro Martinez was my role model. Every time he took the mound, I made sure I was watching the game.
Q. Are you superstitious?
A. A little bit. I gotta be out there for the anthem every game. I’ve missed a couple. And I have three songs that I have to hear before I go out to bullpen.
Q. Tell me about your favorite MLB moment so far?
A. My debut, back in ‘05 with the Angels.
Q. What was going through your head?
A. Nothing was going through my head. I don’t remember the manager talking to me when I was on the mound. I came in the 7th inning. He talked to me but I didn’t hear anything. I was just blank. I asked the catcher when he left if he said something. He said, ‘don’t worry about it - throw strikes.’ But it was a good game. I pitched 2 1/3 innings, no hits, four strikeouts so it was really good.