Kosuke and I had a little miscommunication on Monday in Surprise. You always know the center fielder has priority over pretty much everybody on the field, and as far as the infielders are concerned, the shortstop has priority. As soon as you hear his voice, it’s his ball. Everybody backs off. That way he knows that, you know that.
On Monday, it was a situation for me where the ball went to right center and we both called it at the same time. I heard Kosuke in the background call it, and as the right fielder, I backed off. That’s how it went down. I guess it’s good to hash those things out before it starts counting and it counts against us in the loss column. It’s a play that could’ve cost us the game and we have to make sure we do a better job of communication the next time.
I’ve heard Lou’s comments — that I didn’t come here to share a job. In a sense, I try not to lose sight of what the real goal is at the end of the season, which is to win a World Series. At the same time, I’m a realist and I’m not one of those guys who’s going to go out and have a false sense of security about what my abilities are. I know what I can do on the baseball field and I feel like I bring a lot of things offensively to the table, whether it’s laying down a bunt or executing a hit and run, or moving a runner over by hitting the ball to the right side — just smart baseball things. We’ve got a bunch of guys on our team who play that way and are unselfish. The more guys you have like that in the lineup, the better chance you have to win.
Focusing on winning ballgames, especially when you haven’t won a World Series in more than 100 years, that’s what it’s going to come down to this year. I think Jim and Lou, they want to put their best nine guys out on the field. I’ll be the first to admit if I’m not swinging the bat well and I see my playing time go away, I’m not going to complain. I’ll just look in the mirror and try to figure things out in the cage and try to get more playing time.
I shared well as a child, but at the same time, I’ve been in this situation so many times, this is the only way I know how to handle it. I use it to drive me to win a job. If both of us are playing great, that will be the best scenario for this team. I didn’t train four, five, six hours a day in the offseason and do all my work mentally to prepare for this season to play sporadically. I’ll be ready to step in if they need me. My body is ready for it and I’m in shape physically and mentally.
I don’t want to lose sight of the ultimate goal which is to win a World Series. If that means I’m an everyday guy in center field, I’m ready for that.