The last two days here, you really have to struggle to bang through the long days. I think you can smell the end. You treat the New York trip almost like it’s Opening Day. I think it’s a good thing we play these exhibitions. The travel will be tough for us but we’ll probably go through worse travel trips in the middle of the year. It’ll be good to play in front of a packed house for two days. It’ll be nice to see the stadium — we’ve heard so many things about it.
Now, you see everybody dress up nice. Font got his new outfit from “Gap for Kids” and Theriot’s suit is from “Men’s Wearhouse.” When you see those things, you know it’s time to go. Guys are excited and ready to get out of here. The new luggage tags are good, Otis yelling at everybody is another good sign. Like I said before, guys are excited and they want it to count. This trip will help us regain our focus. You have those Opening Day jitters and hopefully we get them out of the way and roll into Houston and start playing good baseball.
I love watching Patton pitch. He’s 24 years old and attacking the strike zone. The only problem Lou has with guys from a pitching standpoint is when they’re not throwing strikes and that’s not what Patton is all about. He’s about pounding the strike zone. I can see why any manager or any pitching coach could fall in love with a guy like that.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s with us the whole year. He’s not your typical Rule 5 guy. I think he can have a big impact on our team. You listen to his attitude and talking to him, he was so excited about spring. He was talking to me about how in Spring Training he does what he has to do physically in the weight room and out on the mound to prepare himself for the season and once the bell rings, it’s time to get after it. To hear that kind of attitude from a young kid — he has a lot of confidence in his stuff and that’s what you need to pitch up here.
He’ll be a good addition if he’s on our team. I think he’s going to have a long successful career. You can just tell. It’s not just a guy’s stuff, because there are guys with great stuff, but they don’t have the right attitude. He’s got the right combination and it’s exciting to see a player like that.
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.