On making it tothe big leagues after nearly seven years in the minors
Early in mycareer I was too shy, trying to hit to rightfield, trying to be too fine withmy swing. Last season my hitting coach at Triple A, Von Joshua, finally told meto be more aggressive. He said, "We know you have it in you." I startedletting it fly, and everything worked out.
On being namedthe NL's Rookie of the Month in April
I didn't knowuntil I saw it on the scoreboard when I went up to bat. I was like, Whoa! Thecrazy thing is, I struck out eight times in a row at one point that month, thenI hit two three-run homers in a game a few days later. This game can humbleyou.
On how he learnedEnglish
Mostly from TV,watching Fresh Prince and Full House. When I was three, we moved from PuertoRico to the Bronx, then to Florida before going back to Puerto Rico when I waseight. My older sister [Michelle] made us watch all that girly stuff.
On the 6'1"225-pounder's wager with 6'5", 255-pound Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano
In the spring of2007 we bet $2,000 on who could get to the lowest body fat. I was like,"Two thousand dollars? That's a little heavy." But [teammates] HenryBlanco and Jacque Jones each put in $1,000 for me. That was pressure—I didn'twant to make those guys pay. I got on a diet, ran hard every day, and at theend of camp I'd lost 20-something pounds and was one percent under Zambrano. Hepaid up.
On what he'd bedoing if he weren't in baseball
Probably be anaccountant. I like to figure out stuff. In accounting, if you miss one number,you get the whole thing wrong. You have to be perfect—and I'm aperfectionist.
The rookie, 25,has 10 homers and leads all catchers with 39 RBIs
PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY