11/15/2006 11:39 AM ET
Tracy: Comfortable at third
I was really happy to be back at third base on a regular basis this season. That's my natural position and where I feel most comfortable. It felt good to be back over there.
"I believe I can contribute more to the team and make them better when I'm at third," says Chad Tracy. (AP)
When I heard that Troy Glaus was traded to Toronto last winter, the first thing that popped into my head was that third base was open again and that it would make sense to put me there. It's where I wanted to be. I believe I can contribute more to the team and make them better when I'm at third.
Returning to third gave me more of a routine during the offseason. I could focus on preparing for that role instead of working at all the positions. It allowed me to concentrate solely on third base.
I reached some level of comfort during the time I spent in the outfield. It definitely got better, but I wouldn't say I was ever 100-percent comfortable out there. The more I played, the more confidence I gained.
But every time I played the outfield I would learn little things that helped me become a better outfielder. It was on-the-job training in the big leagues, which can be tough. You don't have room for error when you're learning. It was somewhat uncomfortable, but I think I handled it all right.
Brett Butler, one of our former coaches, kept me sane while making the transition to the outfield. He had all the answers to my questions. Without Bugsy, it would have been a much tougher job.
I was able to keep the fact that I was moving from first to third to the outfield from affecting my hitting. You have to separate your offense and your defense when stuff like that happens. You can't carry over concerns for your defense when you're stepping into the box and trying to get a hit.
Switching positions is one of those things that requires some mental toughness, but it isn't as hard as people can make it out to be.
After playing a variety of infield and outfield positions since debuting with Arizona in 2004, Chad Tracy settled in at third base on a regular basis this past season, playing the hot corner in 147 of his 154 games. He also recorded a career-high 260 assists in 2006.