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Drew chats with fans online
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02/04/2004  4:08 PM ET
Drew chats with fans online
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"I'm looking forward to staying healthy and being out there every day," said Drew during an online chat. (AP Photo)
Newly acquired Braves outfielder J.D. Drew participated in an online chat with fans. The Hahira, Ga., native sized up the competition, discussed his health status and his appreciation for playing in Atlanta.

Moderator: Welcome to today's chat. J.D. has joined us and we're ready to go.

garzetta: How have you been able to maintain your walk with God through your injuries and the trade to Atlanta?

J.D. Drew: That's an easy question. That's how I was raised. I've been in Church since I can remember. Baseball is all great, but God has blessed me with talent and I owe everything to Him. Injuries are just something you have to deal with. As for trade, I believe God puts you in a place and I'm excited to be back closer to home to play.

Andy_vonDohren: How do you like your new teammates?

Drew: I know a few of the guys. I'm looking forward to getting to know them a little better and getting ready for a change of scenery. I look forward to sharing the outfield with Chipper (Jones) and Andruw (Jones).

braveslave: Hi J.D.! It's great to have you back in GA!!! Do you feel people make too much fuss over the injuries that have hampered your career to date?

Drew: I don't think there is too much fuss. A lot of the injuries are out of my control. When you have a knee injury like I had it affects a lot of other parts of your body. The biggest problem is having to miss games.

stlbirdie: How does Cox's approach differ from La Russa's?

Drew: I think Tony kind of plays the numbers more than Bobby. I'll have to find out after playing for Bobby a little while. I know Tony moves around more than Bobby. But I don't think that's a big deal.

crystal_jarrell: What do you think is the best thing about being with Atlanta?

Drew: They are consistently winning. But also being able to surround myself with friends and family will make it lots of fun.

stlbirdie: Do you feel not playing center field will increase your possibility of injuring your knee again?

Drew: Playing center field is a little more stressful on your knee. But I feel as long as I do my rehab, I shouldn't have any more problems.

choppinmama: In addition to playing for your "home town" team, you also have your little brother joining you at Spring Training this year. Your family must be so proud. How excited are you both? And we're looking forward to seeing you this weekend at FanFest.

Drew: It's going to be fun. He's got his work cut out for him with the Braves pitching staff always being so good. I think he realizes the challenge and looks forward to doing whatever he has to do to make the team.

braveslave: J.D., you made my holiday wish come true in December when you signed with the Braves. Thanks for joining the team and giving us another great athlete in the roster! How great do you think it will be to walk out onto the field on Opening Day?

Drew: It'll be a lot of fun. I've always been trying to picture. I'm glad I made your Christmas holiday wishes good. I'm just excited to get started.

Cory_Deutmeyer: Do you think that you will have the same great season as Gary Sheffield did last season?

Drew: I'd like to think so. You always set your expectations high. He had a really impressive season. I'll just do my best to perform well and see what happens.

William_Perkins: What is it like to play Major League Baseball?

Drew: It's a lot of fun, but it's also a lot of work. There is a lot of travel and work involved that people may not know about. With injuries, you're always having to work extra hard to get back out there to be able to have a job that you love to do.

tflowers: J.D., thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. I was wondering what your thoughts on agents and sports management companies are given everything you've gone through in your career since being drafted?

Drew: I think they're very important. Scott Boras is one of my best friends as are the people that work for him. They allow me to just focus on the game and not have to worry about the business end of things. I know people have their opinions are agents but everyone should know they are very important to the way the game is played today.

drewfan84: Hey, J.D.. First of all I want to say that all of us here in Hahira are very proud of you. Now my question, how well do you see yourself doing for Atlanta this season?

Drew: If I could predict the future, I guess I could have asked for a lot more money. I'm looking forward to staying healthy and being out there every day. If I do that, I believe I can put up some really good numbers.

kara7: Hello. Are you really a Christian? And if so can you share with us your experience with Christ? Also, as a baseball player are you able to go to church on Sundays?

Drew: I know Tim Cash in Atlanta has some good chapels at the stadium. But yes, I try to make it to church every Sunday and I'm looking forward to attending this one church in Atlanta when time allows.

mlb_com_member_2: What is the highlight of your career so far?

Drew: I've had a bunch of them. When I broke into the league, that was the night that Mark McGwire hit his 62nd homer. I've had so many injuries, I'm now just trying to make some of my own highlights.

stlbirdie: Now that you are out of the Central, which is the best team in the Central? Who is your biggest competition in the East?

Drew: Chicago last year was always the better team. We always had tough times with them and Houston. In the East, it's going to be a learning experience. I know Philly is stacking up. So we'll have to see how it goes.

William_Perkins: What coach has been the most helpful in your baseball career?

Drew: I think it would be Marty Scott. He was a farm director with the Rangers and then got a job with us when I was with the St. Paul Saints. He taught me the ins and outs of what it took to perform every day as a baseball player.

William_Perkins: Who has been your favorite teammate?

Drew: I'd say the person I'm closest to now is Mike Matheney. We spent a lot of time together on road trips when we weren't at the stadium.

chipster: First of all, welcome to Braves nation. What do you think of the changes that have been made during the offseason? Not every hole was filled as well as right field. And what do you think are the keys to winning another championship?

Drew: It's hard to keep up with everything. Until you get to Spring Training, you never know how teams are going to come together. In terms of championships, I believe we have to keep our pitching and defense strong and remain healthy. We'll see how it goes.

mlb_com_member_2: What player has influenced you the most?

Drew: That's tough to say. But I've had some great teammates like McGwire and Tino Martinez. I think the best influences come from guys you can learn from through their actions and not necessarily their verbal interaction.

amettrick: Hey J.D. I've been a Cardinals fan for life. I was sad to see you go and I hope you have a lot of success in Atlanta. I was just wondering if you hold any resentment toward the Cards or St. Louis?

Drew: No, not at all. If anything, it's kind of a relief not having to hear the trade talks anymore. Sometimes the business side really takes over and the Cards needed some pitching. I enjoyed my time in St. Louis and wish it could have worked out. But I understand why it didn't.

drewfan84: How long would you possibly like to stay with Atlanta?

Drew: We'll see how things play out. I want to have a good, healthy year. When it comes time, I'll worry about the business side. I like being close to home and we'll see how things work out. It's definitely not a place I'm opposed to being in next year.

bcox6: J.D., are you still planning on being at FanFest?

Drew: I'll be there on Saturday. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the fans there and getting to see some of my new teammates.

sjordan54180: What is the hardest pitch for you to hit? The easiest?

Drew: That depends on who is pitching and how you see it. I think in baseball, one of the hardest pitches to hit is the split-finger. But I think as long as the pitcher is throwing well and keeping you off-balance, it doesn't matter what he throws, it's going to be tough to hit.

Base_Ball_2: I know you haven't played with Andruw Jones yet, but I am sure you are familiar with him. Who do you think is the better defensive center fielder?

Drew: That's tough to say. (Jim) Edmonds and Andruw are great in their own ways. That's a hard comparison. I think they're neck and neck.

mlb_com_member_4: What is your favorite ballpark to play in?

Drew: I really like Pittsburgh's new park and it's always good to go to Coors Field to see the scenery and have the ball fly.

skatem2000: Do you play any other sports?

Drew: I played football through my freshman season in high school. Football is real big in South Georgia. So once I got to high school, I really just focused on baseball.

nyskataplaya: I was wondering if you have any advice for a struggling high school baseball player?

Drew: Have fun while you are there. That's when the game is just a game. I look back and I realize I had a lot of great memories in high school and college. That's when it's really fun.

wowzers: Hey J.D. I'm getting out of class right now to talk to you for a paper I'm doing on how technology has affected baseball. Hopefully you can answer my question. Have you ever had any injuries that would have been career ending 20 years?

Drew: That's a good question. I would say my knee injury might have been one that possibly could have kept me out. But I 'm really not sure.

anthony1021: What do you think the strong points are on the Braves this year?

Drew: That's tough to say. There have been a lot of changes. Hopefully a lot for the better. Hopefully we'll figure those out in a couple of weeks.

Base_Ball_3: J.D. Will you still be wearing No. 7 with the Braves this year? Does that number have a special meaning for you?

Drew: Yeah, I will be wearing that number. There's nothing really special. It's just the number I wore during my first season. So it's just kind of neat to keep it with another team.

amettrick: Have you always been an outfielder, or did you play a different position when you were younger?

Drew: I didn't start playing until I was 12. I played some shortstop when I was in little league. But we had some bad outfielders and I couldn't stand watching the balls drop out there. So I moved out to center field and stayed there until they moved me to right in St. Louis.

Drew: Thanks everyone for coming to chat with me today. I look forward to seeing you all this weekend at FanFest and throughout the season. I'm hoping for a good season and a lot of fun.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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