Like I’ve said for a while, when we play as a team, we do a lot better. This is not tennis. Not one individual. We are playing together as a team. That’s when you win, when everybody is chipping in. I am happy to see that we are playing better defensively. Fredi and all the staff, they’ve been working with us. They’ve been working hard with us, and we are going to stay focused on it. We went into Spring Training wanting to get better on defense, and we’re getting better and better. People ask what I’m doing better on defense. I’m using my feet better. It’s about positioning. We’ve been working, and we’re going to keep working at it.
Being voted into the All-Star Game, I want to thank the fans and everybody. I’m really, really happy. What can I say? It’s an honor. From my heart, I want to thank all the fans, and the players. This is something that motivates you to get better. A lot of players from other teams have shown me respect. That’s something you have to appreciate. I’m also really happy for Josh Johnson. He deserves it, and I’m happy for him. I have somebody I can talk too. When you have so many stars there, it’s difficult to talk to all of them. When you have somebody on your team, we can look forward to having fun. When I went to the All-Star Game last year, that was a lot of fun. You get to know a lot of stars in this game. Guys who have been around a long time. Guys whou have been around 10, 11 years. They teach you when you are on the bench. You learn from them. For J.J., I hope it’s the first of many trips there. He’s a tremendous pitcher. The guys in the All-Star Game are guys who respect the game. That’s the way you should be. When they take the field, they take it like it’s their last game. You are here playing to win games and go to the World Series. Those guys showed me that.
People ask me what I’m doing different this year with runners in scoring position. I’m being more patient right now. Last year, I think I was swinging at everything they threw me. I was too aggressive.
Now, I’m taking whatever they’re giving me, then trying to have a good swing. If they pitch me away, I will hit it the other way. The other day [Tuesday against the Nationals Craig Stammen] he made a good pitch, down-and-away. I was able to hit the ball the other way for a home run. He made a good pitch, too. I had a good swing, and the ball went out to the opposite field. You can only control what you can control. I was able to do my job.
My hitting has been a lot of hard work. I’ve been working with Jim Presley [hitting coach], Hawk [Andre Dawson] and Tony Perez. I’ve been more patient. I’m hitting the ball all over the place. Whatever it takes. I’ve been taking whatever they’re giving me.
I’m really happy with what we’ve been doing as a team. But there is a long way to go. A long way to go.