A: For the most part, the guys up in Triple-A were a little older and had been around the game more. They knew the game and most of the time would help if you had any questions. I enjoyed being there.
Q: What did you learn from your experiences at Iowa in the brief time you were there, and do you expect to start next season off at Triple-A?
A: I hope to start the season in Iowa, but if not, then wherever the Cubs want me, I'll play hard. I saw how the Triple-A guys prepare for games and it was neat. There is not all of the goofing around that you see in the lower levels.
Q: You hit a full half-point higher in Double-A this season than at Daytona a year ago. What were some of the changes, if any, that you made in your game, particularly in your swing?
A: The changes I made were more mental than anything else. I know my swing is good, so I try to stay away from changing it. I will mess with it, but not so much change it. I was more aware of how long the season was going to be and really took that into consideration in my off-season workouts.
Q: As a left-handed hitter, how do you explain your .333 average against lefty pitchers in 2004, versus a still solid .293 mark against right-handers?
A: I don't know why I hit higher against lefties than right-handers. I probably concentrated more against lefties because I was not supposed to hit them. I didn't think about it while I was doing it; it just happened.
Q: Just for fun, what have you been up to this off-season?
A: I have been doing a lot of hunting and just hanging out with my family. I also enjoy spending time with my wife. I have seen the movies HERO, Christmas with the Cranks and a few others.
Q: Looking at the current first basemen in Major League Baseball, who is the one player you would compare yourself most to?
A: The current player I would compare myself to is Todd Helton, only with a little less pop right now. I think the power will come more with age.
Q: What was your most enjoyable moment for the Diamond Jaxx this past season?
A: Playing with Sammy Sosa was amazing. He was truly a nice guy.
Q: You committed only five errors this past season as opposed to 11 the year before. Was there anything you worked on defensively last off-season?
A: To tell you the truth, one or two of those [from 2003] was in the outfield. Defensively, I have always been a pretty good first baseman. I have to do something to try and make up for the lack of homeruns I hit.
Q: What are some of the things you're doing this off-season to stay in shape? Weight-lifting? Exercises, etc.?
A: I lift weights, run, throw, and hit. I have the luxury of being able to go to the local high school and local junior college to work out with those teams. I played for both of them.