What do you want to improve on this coming season?
I would say, as a whole, I want to do the same things I did last year. Hitting, defense, there's not one particular thing that I am working on. I want to round everything out and get better at everything.
2 of 9
Did it feel good to upend the Red Sox and Yankees and win the AL East?
Definitely. We knew going through the whole thing that this wasn't something that happens every year. It's usually a Yankees/Red Sox division. So there was a lot of pride, passion and pleasure to winning the division. It working out for us last year was awesome.
3 of 9
How tough is this division?
If I weren't a player, just looking from the outside in, I would have to say it's the toughest division in baseball. You've got four other teams that are not afraid to put a lot of money in their franchises to win. And that makes it very difficult.
4 of 9
What was it like when you didn't get drafted out of high school?
There was a lot of second guessing myself and my talents. Obviously, you know, I think as a baseball player, going through that period, you don't know if things are going to work out.
5 of 9
Do you think it helped your career that you played at Rio Hondo Junior College for a season?
Going to Junior College was probably the best decision I ever made. Because I ended up having a good year there and then, obviously moved forward to Long Beach and had success there. But it was tough.
6 of 9
Did you ever think you might not make it in the majors?
When I was younger I definitely thought I might not make it. But when you get drafted that high they give you the opportunity to make it. I knew if I played as I was capable of playing, I knew I was going to make it.
7 of 9
What changes this season now that everyone is prepared for you and the Rays to be really good?
I think the biggest difference is that we're not going to sneak up on anybody this season. Say the Yankees, they come off a three game set against Boston where emotions are so high and they go into a three game set against us and they might let their guard down and we were able to sneak two out of three. But now they're going to know, hey we got Boston and now we got the Rays back to back and we can't let our guard down.
8 of 9
Do you think about the pressure to get back to another World Series?
There's no pressure for us to repeat. It's very hard to go back to back to the World Series. But there's a strong belief that we can achieve the same things we did last year. And we have that year of experience, of playing in the post season and we have pretty much every starter coming back. There are more expectations.
9 of 9
What can you do to recapture the magic from last season?It was a great year; there are so many great memories. We have so much fun together. For us to go to the Trop every day and see if for the last month and a half sold out, it was awesome. That's one of the feelings that we need to strive for this year, is that post season feeling for the entire year. When that place is packed we play so well and if we keep playing well we will be tough to beat at home.
You May Like
More SI Kids
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!