- Last Updated: 5:34 AM, July 1, 2012
- Posted: 11:29 PM, June 30, 2012
Q: How did it feel to lose the 2009 World Series to the Yankees.
A: I remember how quiet it seemed when the Yankees celebrated on the field, and I remember how empty a feeling it was. It was way harder than anything else I’ve ever done in the game.
Q: What drives you?
A: I think being the best I could be. Knowing at the end of the day that I did everything I could that day to be the best player, husband, father, teammate, friend that I could be. ... I think I’ve been driven by different factors over time. I think for a long time I was motivated by proving people wrong. And then later on, you realize that it didn’t really matter what people thought anyway, so who cares what they think anyway?
Q: What did the doubters early on say about you that bothered you?
A: I grew up, I was the youngest of three boys, so I got told a lot, “You can’t do that,” or that type of thing. I was a 36th-round pick. ... I think there was an issue where they didn’t think I would sign, that’s what I was told. Early on, it was, “He’s not really a prospect.” Then I became a prospect. Then when I got to the big leagues, they said, “He can’t play regularly.” Then I started playing against righties and then it was like, “Well he can’t play every day.” And then it was, “Well, he can’t play defense.” And then it was, “Well, he can’t repeat it.” It was always something. I really used that as fuel for a long time, and then after a while I realized it was irrelevant. I was really on a quest to be the best that I can be, excellence.
Q: Boyhood idols?
A: My dad, and my brothers ... and George Brett (chuckle).
Q: Why George Brett?
A: Everything he did was just cool. I loved watching George Brett play. High socks, the way he hit, the way he fielded, everything about him.
Q: Your dad?
A: My dad [Juan] was awesome. Just a very strong, resilient man who was always a very positive, quiet encourager in my life. Pretty stoic, pretty even-keeled all the time. Hardly ever got upset. ... When he did, everyone knew, but it didn’t happen very often. He had great control of himself, and great self-discipline.
Q: Did he encourage your baseball career?
A: Yes. Always. From when I was a kid. I got the passion from him and from my older brothers [Armando and Tony].
Q: Where did you play with your brothers?
A: In front of the house. They used to make these tape balls, or rubber band balls ... tiny little balls ... and throw all kinds of sliders and knuckle curves and all kinds of stuff, sinking fastballs, everything. The only way you can get a hit was if you hit a line drive. If you hit on the ground, you were out. If you hit in the air, you were out — unless it went like over the neighbor’s tree, which was a long way. ... I couldn’t do it so it was a line drive game. And now looking back on it, I realize that’s how I learned how to hit.Follow @NYPostsports