Sports Illustrated chats with the young Angels hitter about his climb to the majors, taking a foul ball away from Ben Affleck at Fenway Park and why he lives in an Anaheim motel, stashing his extra clothes in the car when the team goes on the road. It's a nice read. Here are a couple of excerpts about being accepted and the day he learned that his first-ever experience as a first baseman was hours away.
In spring training I went to hit in the cage after a workout. [The White Sox] had come up from Tucson, and [Konerko's] in the cage doing some work. I walk in, and he's like, Hey, do you want me to get out of here? I was like, Noooooo, don't get out, you're all right. I went to the other side of the cage to hit. When we played the White Sox the other day, I told him, "That was me in the cage. I didn't want you to get out because I respect you guys." He goes, "It's not 'you guys' any more. It's 'us.'" That was pretty cool.
It was in Detroit in May, sitting in the locker room, and [second baseman] Adam Kennedy comes in and says, "Hey, you're first base today." I'm like, You're kidding. He goes, "No, you're at first." I'm like, What am I going to do? I've never played first base before! I was so nervous. I didn't have any balls hit to me that day, so I was like, Phew. I caught everything, though. I'm borrowing a glove because I don't have one--it's our bullpen coach, Orlando Mercado's, glove. It has MERCADO stitched on it.
It's in the August 21 issue, as told to Ben Reiter. Spotted at Matt Welch's blog.