DENVER -- Rockies rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela collected himself for a baseball thrill. But when he met Mariners star pitcher "King" Felix Hernandez on Tuesday, it became an even bigger rush for Senzatela.
Of course, any young pitcher would be honored to spend time with Hernandez, the 2010 American League Cy Young Award-winner and a six-time All-Star. But Senzatela grew up in the same hometown as Hernandez -- Valencia, Venezuela. Yet, at just 22, Senzatela had never met Hernandez, 31.
But Hernandez, who is working his way back from right shoulder bursitis, was aware of Valencia's newest pitching wonder. Senzatela (7-1, 3.19 ERA) is tied for the National League lead in wins and eighth in ERA. It turned out "King Felix" was just as happy to meet "The Little Prince," as Rockies teammates are calling Senzatela, with a nod toward Hernandez.
"It was a dream -- he's my favorite pitcher," said Senzatela, who will start Wednesday night at Safeco Field against the Mariners and lefty James Paxton. "He was throwing a bullpen while I was playing catch. After he was done, he was walking to his dugout.
"I said, 'Hey, I'm Antonio.' And he said, 'Hey, you're doing a good job. Keep it going.' I was so happy."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.