Notes: Germano earning a spot
Colorful right-hander competing for bullpen appointment
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The first thing you notice about Justin Germano is one of seven tattoos strategically placed on his body.Whether it's the cross on his left shoulder, the tribal bands around his ankle and on his back, the two kanji (Japanese) symbols that mean strength and courage, or the word "Germ" on his back, it's hard for the artwork not to be the subject of conversation. "When I got my first one, the [tattoo artist] had a sign that read, 'Welcome to your new addiction,'" Germano said, laughing. "That always stood out, because I always say each one is my last." He's proudest of his newest decoration, the word "Amituofo" written vertically along his right torso. The word is uttered by Buddhists when they meditate. Germano recently discovered a book on the subject and adapted some of the beliefs to baseball. "It helps them relax and find peace," he said. "It helps me clear my mind on the mound and focus. I'm not a Buddhist, but I admire the way they find peace. I thought it was something I needed. I improved once I started reading that stuff. It calms me." He says "Amituofo" three times before the start of each inning, after throwing his final warm-up toss. It had been working this spring, until the right-hander got tattooed Thursday by the Blue Jays, hurting his quest for one of two bullpen jobs. In eight innings over five appearances, he's allowed four runs on 10 hits, while striking out nine and walking two. A starter exclusively throughout his career, he realizes that his only ticket to the Phillies is via the bullpen. "He has to show he can throw his breaking ball for strikes," manager Charlie Manuel said, who also wants to make sure Germano can pitch multiple days in a row. "We'll wait and see." Right-hander Joe Bisenius has also thrown well in camp, but none of the other candidates have distinguished themselves. It might as well be Germano. "I'm trying not to put any extra pressure on myself," Germano said. "I'm trying to put the pressure on them. I have to go out there and have the best spring I can. There's no stress or added pressure." Should he make the team, he'll be happy to know there are plenty of tattoo parlors in Philadelphia. While he won't get a full sleeve -- think Motley Crue's Tommy Lee -- he can't guarantee his mom and girlfriend that he'll stop at seven. "I'm trying to back off, but I don't make any promises. My mom always asks, 'Is this the last one?'"
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.