Loney ready to put skills on display
Dodgers first baseman chats with fans online from camp
During a Web chat from Spring Training camp Tuesday, Dodgers first baseman James Loney talked about preparing for his first full season starting in the big leagues and working on his defense at camp. He also talked about the high expectations in the clubhouse and playing for new manager Joe Torre.
James Loney: Thanks to all the fans out there. We're looking forward to bringing home a championship real soon. Let's get started.
fawnkyjunk: How has this spring been different training-wise? Is there something new you have picked up in your game for this year?
Loney: It's been the same work as far as baseball activities are concerned. Throwing, running and hitting ... just fine-tuning all those things. I worked with Wes Parker and Don Mattingly at Dodger Stadium earlier this winter and they were just giving me tips around first base on where to play depth-wise and the best way to get to the bag. They taught me not to stretch too early, stuff like that.
Buckner22: Many people think you will win some Gold Gloves before you're through. With so many great first basemen in the league, how do you think you fit in?
Loney: There are a lot of great guys. Obviously, when I'm out there on defense, I feel like I should be able to make any play and make the adjustments when I have to. That just comes through doing extra work and learning from the guys around me. Especially, I have to concentrate on the easy plays. Making the hard plays, for me, is good to just show my ability of getting to the ball.
dodgerblue1538: Hey James, my fantasy draft is tomorrow. What kind of numbers do you expect to have this year?
Loney: I expect big numbers, so pick me!
ladodgers06: Did you prefer being a pitcher rather than a first baseman?
Loney: I'd say no, just because I liked doing both equally in high school. That was fun, trying to help your team in any way. In high school, you have two games a week, so I'd start on the mound for one and then go to first base for the other. It was just fun to play. But overall, now that I've had the chance to play every day and get out there and be involved a lot more, I prefer first.
lablue323: Hey, Loney. Knowing you're a starter this season, is there anything different you did in your offseason?
Loney: No, I still worked out like I always have been. The only thing that's different now is the questions I get, but it's the same thing for me, just working out and getting in shape for the long season.
dodgezilla: So what's it like playing for a Hall of Fame manager like Joe Torre? You're on my fantasy team, so good luck this year.
Loney: He seems like a great guy and a great teacher of the game. The thing that he really stresses is being prepared for any situation and not making any mental mistakes. That's a good thing to refresh and work on during the first week of Spring Training.
bkimdodger: What are your expectations for the Dodgers this year? Many fans are excited about the youth movement and offseason acquisitions to bolster the team. However, we understand that National League West may be tougher than last year.
Loney: The attitude in our clubhouse is winning the World Series. All the time we put in, all the effort -- that's the ultimate thing when you're out there. We definitely expect that.
psquar3: What's it like having Andruw Jones in the clubhouse? Does he joke around a lot?
Loney: He's really cool. He's always here smiling and saying hi to guys and talking about different things. He's a really funny guy and keeps it pretty loose. I remember when he first came up in the World Series and being 19 years old against the Yankees. That was my first memory of him. If I'm not mistaken, he hit a home run or two and I've kept up with him over time because the Braves were my dad's favorite team.
gibson88fan: James, how do you feel about the new acquisitions for 2008, including Joe Torre?
Loney: Yeah, in addition to Torre and Jones, we got Hiroki Kuroda, who we expect to be one of the top starters for us. He's got a great personality in the clubhouse and we already went out to sushi one time. He knows what to order there! He's a very likable guy and seems very passionate about the game.
tonymrqz: With Andruw in center field, where do you see yourself hitting?
Loney: It doesn't matter to me. I like hitting with guys on base, but you never know. Wherever they put me is fine with me. Our lineup should be pretty strong come Opening Day.
ytezah: Who is your favorite artist/band?
Loney: I'm going to take you back ... Stevie Wonder.
loneyfan: Are you a Lakers fan?
Loney: No, sorry. I'm from Houston so I'm a Rockets fan.
ladodgerbluefan: Loney! What's the best thing about playing in LA?
Loney: It's just the atmosphere and the fans. Playing at Dodger Stadium, I think, is the best in the Major Leagues.
mogre: Is this really you?
Loney: If I say yes, would you believe me?
ucscslug: What up, James. What model bat do you use?
Loney: I use different bats. Mostly the G174 model. It's made by MaxBat.
ladodgerbluefan: Are you going to the Kanye West concert?
Loney: I think we have a game scheduled that night, otherwise I'd be going. I was actually asked to go already but then someone pointed out we have a game.
oceans12: What do you usually do on a day off?
Loney: It just depends. Sometimes I'll go to the movies or the mall or bowling. Just usually relax, nothing too strenuous. Maybe even go down to the beach.
loneyfan: Do you read the Dodgers message board?
Loney: A lot of my family does.
DPIStorm: What do you miss about Texas?
Loney: It's home. My family and friends, mostly. Some of that good Southern food, too.
linmco: Do you have a girlfriend?
Loney: Not right now.
theboss95_2: Who makes your first baseman's glove?
tonymrqz: What impact has Tommy Lasorda had on you as a player, on and off the field?
Loney: Tommy's funny. He's always got a story. He's a real good motivator and takes a lot of pride in being a Dodger and in playing the game the right way. He definitely has a lot of knowledge and insight and he always tries to keep things positive for you.
sublime06: Do you have a MySpace page?
Loney: Yeah. I let my cousin run the page.
dre138: Kenny Lofton gave Takashi Saito the nickname of Sammy during his initial Spring Training. Has Kuroda got tagged with a nickname yet?
Loney: Most guys are calling him Hiro, like Hero.
memorex6: What goes through your head each time you step on the field at Dodger Stadium?
Loney: Just feeling blessed to be out there and be able to play a game. I remind myself to always have fun and concentrate and focus on helping the team win the game.
jose43la: Are you an Astros fan, too?
Loney: Yeah, I grew up an Astros fan but now it's only to a certain extent.
sarluvsla: Do you ever feel star-struck when you meet a famous baseball player?
Loney: There have been a few guys, like Juan Marichal, Ozzie Smith, Rod Carew and Frank Robinson. I got all those guys to sign balls for me.
brdodgers: I read in an interview you said that you liked to play baseball on Wii. Does it help you? I'm your biggest fan in Brazil!
Loney: I'm actually more of a tennis player on the Wii, but I have played the baseball. I don't know if it helps, but it probably doesn't hurt.
kho88: I always see you visiting kids at hospitals and things. Do you enjoy going out into the community and bringing a little joy to these kids?
Loney: Absolutely. It's good to see a smile on a kid's face and being able to give them some Dodger gifts, hats and shirt. We sign autographs and take pictures with them. I know they have fun, but it brightens my day, too. Hopefully it helps them have a better day.
gibson88fan: Have you ever tried batting right-handed?
Loney: Yeah, I have, but that's why I went straight back to left! But I do write right-handed and eat right-handed.
melody19_2: What's the best concert you've ever been to?
Loney: Last year, it was called the Red & Green X-Mas Xplosion. Paul Wall was performing there.
theboss95_2: Have you tried In-N-Out yet?
Loney: Yup, of course. Them double-doubles are tasty!
ralex15: Do you see yourself wearing a Dodgers uniform for the rest of your career?
Loney: Yeah. Just the way the team is going and the direction we're in, it's been fun being a part of that. I would love to.
Loney: Thanks for the questions. I hope to see you out there this year at Dodger Stadium. We appreciate all the support and keep Thinking Blue and ThinkCure.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.