Q&A: Lastings Milledge

Lastings Milledge is eager to prove he's here to stay. In his return from Triple-A Norfolk, his real estate in the clubhouse was relocated to just two doors down from Cliff Floyd, who had taken the 21-year-old outfielder – currently the youngest player in the National League – under his wing.

Ironically, his new locker is where Xavier Nady used to hang his cap. Milledge had essentially replaced Nady in the field as well, following the outfielder's July 31 trade to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Just before challenging himself to a portable PlayStation game of college football, Milledge took some time to answer a few questions for Inside Pitch and showed us a little bit more about his personality and upbringing:

Inside Pitch: It must have been a great feeling when the Mets called you back up to the big leagues...

Lastings Milledge: Definitely. It was a great time to come back, a great opportunity for me right now.

IP: What did you learn about the majors that you brought back with you when you returned to the minors?

LM: Just pitch selection. That's the main thing. That was the only missing piece to my game right now. Once I learn not to swing at bad pitches I'm going to be a pretty good hitter.

IP: We know that Cliff Floyd has been very helpful to you in your transition to the majors. What have you learned by watching and being with Cliff?

LM: Just how he goes about his business every day, how he does certain things to keep himself in the game. It's not so much the 'this' and 'that,' but knowing what you have to do. By watching Cliff, you know what you have to do to stay in the game a long time.

IP: What are one or two of those things about Cliff that you've observed?

LM: To practice hard, to practice like it's a game. And when you're shagging balls in the outfield, play them like they're in a game situation, because B.P. is as live as it can get.

IP: What about your new role in right field, sharing playing time with Endy Chavez? When you went back down, you went back to playing centerfield, didn't you?

LM: I was playing center, yeah, but it's fine. I know my role on this team, and I know what I have to do. Endy's been doing a great job, so we're both going to doing the job to get the job done.

IP: What did you collect as a kid?

LM: I always collected baseball cards. I was around seven, eight, and I collected a lot of cards, and I kind of went away from that when I was 10 or 11. That's it. Just cards.

IP: Did you save them? Do you still have them?

LM: Yeah, actually, I don't have as many as I had when I was 7 or 8, but I've got a few.

IP: Who were some of the cards or players you saved or collected?

LM: Ken Griffey, Jr. and Juan Gonzalez. I grew up on Juan Gonzalez.

IP: What attracted you to Gonzalez?

LM: His ability to hit the ball. I liked his swing and the way he went about his business. And the way he played.

IP: What was your favorite subject in high school?

LM: History.

IP: What was it about history that caught your attention?

LM: I liked American history, the American Revolution, the 13 colonies, the formation of the United States, all that stuff. It was tough to focus on math and all those other subjects, but I was into history.

IP: What was your first car?

LM: '86 [Ford] Aerostar. I drove that for about five, six months, and then dad bought me a 2001 Ford F-150.

IP: What was your favorite TV show as a kid?

LM: I grew up on 'Family Matters.' That was my show.

IP: How about today?

LM: I really don't watch much TV today. But I like Dave Chappelle's show. He's a funny guy.

IP: Favorite movies?

LM: One would have to be "Rudy." And all the "Rocky" movies.

IP: Favorite actor?

LM: Denzel Washington. And now I'm starting to get into all of Jamie Foxx's movies.

IP: Favorite Denzel Washington movie?

LM: I'd have to say, "Out of Time." That, and "Man on Fire."

IP: Favorite music to listen to?

LM: Hip-Hop and R & B.

IP: Favorite musicians or bands?

LM: I like everything. I really don't have a favorite.

IP: Ever play an instrument?

LM: Baritone sax. I played that from seventh to 10th grade.

IP: Who has become your best friend in baseball?

LM: Coming up, one of them was Dante Brinkley. He's my best friend, but he got traded in the minors in the [Paul] Lo Duca trade.

IP: Still keep in touch?

LM: Yeah, we work out together in the offseason.

IP: If you had a talk show, who would be your guests?

LM: Definitely Oprah. That's the one. The only one.

IP: How about in history? If you were throwing a dinner, who would be your guests?

IP: Hmm...all of history, you're making me think, now. I'd say Abraham Lincoln.

IP: What have been some of the things you and your dad have discussed about coming up to the majors?

LM: Just don't worry too much about how you do, just try to learn a lot, learn from each at-bat. If you keep learning, your numbers will be where you want to be.

Reprinted from the October 2006 issue of Inside Pitch Magazine. For a subscription to Inside Pitch, call 888-501-5752 or click on www.insidepitchmagazine.com.

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