Padres Interview: Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts has been the subject of trade rumors over the last year, lost his best friend on the team and is still going strong, slated to be the leadoff hitter for the defending NL West Champs.

Talk about losing Mark Loretta:

Dave Roberts: He was my best friend. Obviously it was tough but this is a business and you wish him the best.

You have been the subject of trade rumors all off-season. How have you dealt with that?

Dave Roberts: That might be the one negative of playing where you are from. It is out of my control and you try not to let anything affect you.

Who was the toughest pitcher you have faced?

Dave Roberts: Randy Johnson

It was opening day in 2003. Juan Pierre had told me to lay down a bunt against Johnson since he has a tough time fielding. I said, ‘Doesn't Randy hate it when people bunt on him? I heard he will throw at you.'

Juan replied, ‘Just bunt and make sure it is fair and he won't have the chance to throw at you.'

First at bat of the season, second pitch, I lay down a bunt and it goes foul. I am not too anxious to get back in the box. Sure enough, the next pitch – right in the ribs. I am laughing because it happened – not on the outside – and I want to charge the mound but know there is a 6-foot-10 monster out there. So, I took it and went to first. At least I got on base.

What do you think of the Padres off-season?

Dave Roberts: The organization did a great job. We expect to get to the postseason again.

Of all the teams in the NL West, who has made the biggest strides this off-season?

Dave Roberts: Until the season starts it is tough to gauge. I think the Dodgers are improved but they changed a lot of the chemistry there – the same deal we have here. We both will have to prove we can come together but we have the leaders here to make it happen.

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