RAYS DESIGNATED HITTER
On leaving the Cubs to sign with the Rays as a free agent last December
It was real important to come to a Florida team because my family is here—my fiancée, Maryanne Manning; my daughter, Bria Shae, who's four; and my son, Tobias, who's three. I couldn't script a better ending to my career.
On the Rays' best-ever start
There are a bunch of young guys here, and everyone thought we were going to lose, but I knew we weren't. These guys have energy, and they seem in tune as a team.
On giving advice to young teammates
I hate to be the guy who says, "I've been around, and this is how it is," but I'd also never want a teammate to lose his job because of his attitude. I have seen guys lose opportunities because they can't shut up and go about their business. It's sad.
On his hobby, bowling
I've been bowling since I was a kid and watched the PBA. I loved how they could put a spin on the ball. I bought my own ball 10 years ago, I figured out the spin and I started getting crazy. I go by myself almost every day in the off-season. I use powder, shut my phone off and just focus. My high is 280, but I average around 210.
On his most difficult injury to overcome
My wrist [shattered in 1995]. You need it to hit. If you lose your quickness with the bat, you're going home to find a new job. At first [after surgery] I couldn't even pick up a piece of paper. My therapist would put it in front of me, and I would be there for 30 minutes, sweating, but I just couldn't do it.
On the latest addition to his workouts
I swim now. I have a pool, and I taught myself in the off-season. I halfway drowned the first couple of times but now I do a few laps before I'm dead tired; swimming works everything. My kids will jump in there with me with their floaties on. Sometimes I feel as if I could use floaties too.
The slugger, 35, is lending a veteran presence to keep his upstart club on a roll
PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL HEAPE