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Published On: April 21st, 2006

4/18/06

LB: Where are you currently?

MR: I?m in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with the High A ballclub of the Atlanta Braves. Everything?s going pretty well. In 12 games, our record is 5-7. I?ve been playing in the last ten games, so that?s been great for me.

LB: What were you up to this past off-season?

MR: I went back to Jersey, where I?m from. I work at a baseball academy full time in the off-season. I teach kids of all ages, from little kids to high-schoolers. It?s a lot of fun. I also train for the upcoming season. I usually take September off ? I don?t work out and I eat whatever I want (Laughs). But by October, I begin working out again and by November, I start hitting and throwing the ball around.

LB: What do you hope to achieve this season?

MR: Last year, I got called up to Myrtle Beach from Rome. That was great. I?m an infielder that can play second base, third base, or shortstop. So, they?ve been using me as a utility player. We?ve got a couple of big-time guys playing here right now, so they?re mixing it up for me. It should be a lot of fun.

LB: What?s a typical day like for you during the season?

MR: I don?t usually play golf ? which I did today! We usually don?t get back home after games until late, so sometimes the guys will hang out. I usually wake up at like eight in the morning, grab some lunch and get to the park by two in the afternoon for batting practice. The whole team arrives at four and the games start at seven. It?s tough ? sometimes we don?t get back from road games until four in the morning, and then we have to still get up early the next day.

LB: Do you have any game day superstitions?

MR: I used to. This year I decided to forget it. I asked myself why I did all these things day after day after day. A lot of the guys here definitely have their superstitions. They have to put their clothes on the same way before every game, they have to do this or that. It?s crazy, so I decided to just do whatever. I?m going to take it easy and do everything naturally.

LB: How have you enjoyed your minor league experience?

MR: It?s been good! Every year, I?ve been a backup infielder?and I played in the All Star game in Rome. I?ve been playing pretty well ? so far so good.

LB: What do you enjoy the least?

MR: Sometimes the travel. For some road games, we go all the way up to Delaware. That?s a ten hour bus ride. It kind of kicks your butt. Like I said?sometimes we don?t get back to Myrtle Beach until late and we still have to get up in the morning. But, it?s all good. You just have to relax on those long trips.

LB: Have you had any experiences of playing with or against some notable players?

MR: Last year with the Rome Braves we had a lot of young guys, so nothing crazy happened. I haven?t been so fortunate yet as to play with any of the big leaguers.

LB: How do you think your experience in the NWL and Madison helped you get to where you are today?

MR: In all honesty, any kid that wants to play pro ball HAS to play in the Northwoods League. The travel gets you used to playing on the road. All of the games that you play get you prepped for pro ball scheduling. In the NWL, the two-game series really get you used to taking care of yourself ? how to get enough sleep, how to eat and keep in shape.

LB: What is your most memorable experience on-field in Madison?

MR: Honestly, I have more off-field experiences (Laughs)! I?m just kidding. But seriously, I had an absolute blast in Madison. My host family was awesome ? the Browns. The people in Madison were so nice, and I still keep in touch with some of the guys that I played with there. Javi Sanchez ? he and I still talk every other week or so. My summer in Madison was probably the best time of my life so far.

LB: What did you do for fun in Madison?

MR: Being a college guy and all, I loved seeing all of the young people out and about in Madison. It was fun to go out at night and hang out with the guys.

LB: Who was your favorite team or player growing up as a kid?

MR: I was a big Yankees fan. Although, my favorite player right now is Eric Chavez with the A?s. I can?t even really tell you why, but as a teenager I just started liking the A?s. I?d hurry home so I could catch the game on TV. But, the Yankees are my favorite team from a while back.

LB: Madison Mallards fans are going to be reading this. Is there anything you?d like to say to them?

MR: Yeah. I had a great time in Madison. I had a great experience overall. The people in town as well as the guys in the front office were just awesome. It was a pleasure playing for the Mallards.

LB: Day game or night game?

MR: Night game.

LB: Aluminum bats or wooden bats?

MR: Wooden bats.

LB: Natural grass or artificial turf?

MR: Natural grass!

LB: Stealing home or hitting a home run?

MR: Hitting a home run.

LB: Hitting a grand slam or hitting for the cycle?

MR: Hitting a grand slam.

LB: Fielding a double play or hitting a double?

MR: Hitting a double.

LB: Sunflower seeds or bubble gum?

MR: Sunflower seeds.

LB: Ball hitting bat or ball hitting glove?

MR: Ball hitting bat.