"I just want to win!"
With a golden opportunity to win the starting center field job out of spring training for the Nationals, Ryan Church is as ready as anyone for the 2006 season. We sat down with the hard working Church to discuss spring training, his team role in 2006, and much, much more. (Free Preview!)
CapitolDugout.com: First of all, you will be competing for a spot in spring training this year and you appear to be the front runner for the center field job. What are your thoughts on that opportunity?
Ryan Church: I just want to play everyday! It is going to be a great opportunity for me and I'm going to run with it.
CapitolDugout.com: Injuries were a problem last year obviously. Is there anything you will do differently this year to stay healthy or can you only just hope for the best?
Ryan Church: Not run into any walls. (laughing) No really, I'm just going to go out there and play like I normally do and, like you said, just hope for the best.
CapitolDugout.com: What are some of your goals for this season?
Ryan Church: My biggest goal for the year is just to stay healthy. I don't really have a goal set on statistics. They will take care of themselves. I just want to win!
CapitolDugout.com: What is the biggest improvement you are looking to make heading into this season?
Ryan Church: I'd like to be having quality at-bat after at-bat. Basically, I just would like to be doing more damage at the plate.
CapitolDugout.com: Considering all your attributes, which is your strongest that you feel sets you apart from other players?
Ryan Church: I just play the game like it is suppose to be played. I believe that I have an all-around game. I have the ability to play all three outfield positions and play them well.
CapitolDugout.com: If you had to write a scouting report on yourself, what would be some of the first things you'd note about your game?
Ryan Church: I'd say that I can play all three outfield positions, I play hard, and I can hit for power and average.
CapitolDugout.com: Last year, you showed great potential before the injury bug came along. What types of things should a Nationals fan expect from you in a full, healthy season?
Ryan Church: I would have to say that they should a very consistent player who can do a little bit of everything. And, hopefully they'll see some big numbers also.
CapitolDugout.com: What one thing that you struggled with last year do you feel you have successfully corrected heading into this season?
Ryan Church: I'd have to say, if for some reason, I'm not starting, I like to think that my pinch hitting will probably be better. I wasn't good at it last year, so hopefully I can correct that if that's the case.
CapitolDugout.com: Which of your teammates do you feel that you'd like to be more like in certain ways? In other words, do you like to try to learn as much as possible from your teammates?
Ryan Church: I really don't try to be like anyone. If anything, I just try to get to know everyone, hangout, and enjoy the time we have because things happen and baseball isn't going to be around forever for us.
CapitolDugout.com: Obviously, the Nationals looked strong in the first part of last season. What do you feel will be the key this time around and what do you feel your biggest responsibility will be?
Ryan Church: I think we just need to stay healthy and everything will be fine and we will contend! As for my responsibility, playing center and just contributing.
CapitolDugout.com: If you had to tell a Nationals fan the most important thing they should know about you, what would you tell them?
Ryan Church: I'm a real good person. I'd also tell them not to believe everything that's said around the media, its not all what its cracked out to be.