Trio of Brewers chats online with fans
Zaun, Parra, Villanueva answer questions on several topics
Following is a transcript of a live online chat with Brewers catcher Gregg Zaun and pitchers Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva, who took questions from fans on Sunday:
We are live here at Brewers On Deck! Gregg Zaun is first here with the Brewers On Deck Webchat!
mcgruder: Gregg, What do you think that you can bring to the table for this ballclub as a veteran for one of MLB's youngest teams?
Gregg Zaun: I think first, the experience I have behind the plate and ability to digest information behind the plate. Our young staff will take us as far as we want to go. This will be my 16th year in the big leagues, and I have a pretty good perspective on what to look for in hitters.
brewermn: Which stadium is your favorite to play in besides Miller Park?
Zaun: Camden Yards. I really enjoyed playing there. It was the first of the retro style and is such a stunning place to look at from a baseball perspective. It was great to play there also because the people who worked there really made it a special place to play.
JohnnyO_Lambeau: Gregg, How do you feel about playing for the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin?
Zaun: I'm excited to be here. I'm really excited to be here at this event and see how passionate the fans are about the team. It's great to see everyone in Brewers gear and its great to know they have had 3 million people the last two years. My career actually started in Wausau in A-Ball, so I know the passion the fans here in Wisconsin have for their teams.
ahardybrew: Hey guys, this chat idea is awesome, thanks to whoever thought it up. Gregg, thanks for picking the Brewers, where do you think you'll bat in the lineup?
Zaun: I would like to think I am a contact hitter and a patient hitter. I like to see a lot of pitches when I'm up there. Line drives with occasional power. I thrive in situations where I can drive in runs. I'm going to make the pitcher work really hard, but I see myself hitting in the lower part of the lineup, which is fine with me. I feel I can contribute there.
tritons31: What do players like yourself do to be able to keep good confidence at the plate?
Zaun: You understand right away that hitting is a failure-oriented activity. You have to draw on past success and keep that vivid in your head. You have to remember that you are good at this because you are in the Major Leagues. If you keep that memory in your head, you will be able to stay strong at the plate.
mcgruder: Carlos, Was your offseason routine different this year because you will come into the season knowing your role coming out of the bullpen?
Carlos Villanueva: Not really. Honestly, because you never really know. I always come into the season thinking I am going to start. It is easier to downgrade then to the bullpen. My offseason has been a little more cardio than usual, but other than that, my routine has been pretty much the same.
brewermn: Who is the most intimidating hitter you have ever pitched to?
Villanueva: I don't get intimidated! But, I was a little nervous in the first game I ever pitched. I faced Ken Griffey Jr. I grew up wearing his shoes and playing his video games. It was a "wow" moment.
msax80: Carlos, you will be throwing to some new guys behind the plate this year. How long do you think it will take for chemistry to develop there?
Villanueva: It has been an easy transition in years past. I have worked with a number of catchers here. Zaun is a veteran guy. ... He wants us to do well and prides himself on what each one of us pitchers does on the mound. I really think Gregg will be good for me. The timing really depends on the pitcher. My first year, Chad Moeller was the backup, but it only took us one game to get comfortable. It really depends on the situation. It helps that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training early to get to know everyone.
brwcrw37: Villa, I'm pretty sure the most important thing all us Brewers fan want to know is: are we gonna see you rocking the fu manchu again this year?
Villanueva: I don't know what I was thinking about last year with that! Dave Bush is known for his different facial hair, he has his full lumberjack beard. He didn't think I would grow a "fu man." I did it and I started pitching well. It was tough, my family was calling me asking me what I was doing with the "fu man!" I don't know if I will go back to it this year.
brewermn: Manny Parra, why did you change your number from 43 to 26?
Parra: When I was in high school, I was number 23 and my best friend wanted to trade with me and he had 26. After that, I always tried to get 26, high school, the Minors, whenever it was available, I wanted to get the number. My first two years with the Brewers, I took 43 because it was given to me and I didn't want to ruffle any feathers.
coleregan: Manny, how do you feel about this heavy lefty rotation?
Parra: I love it because we can always scout teams together. Lefties kind of have their own ways of thinking, so we can scout teams together and trade ideas on how to pitch guys.
sterle: What do you guys think of the addition of [pitching coach] Rick Peterson?
Parra: I have talked to him a little bit and have heard nothing but great things. From what I have heard, he likes to teach a lot and has a lot of education in the biomechanics of the game. He really understands pitching. I'm really excited about it and I think it will be a great addition to the team.
pumpkin83: Manny what are your pregame "rituals"? Like what do you do to get ready and pumped for the game?
Parra: Doing the same stretching routine, and I just try and do the same thing every time. I don't have any weird things. I just like to relax and keep things normal.
brew2010: Hi. This question is for whoever wants to answer it. There have been a lot of classic films made about baseball. What is your favorite baseball movie or line from a movie?
Manny Parra: "The Sandlot" was my favorite growing up. But now, "Bull Durham," it has a lot of similarities to real life. When I was young, it was all about the kids movies because we were growing up playing pick up games like in "The Sandlot."
thecrew96: Manny, other then pitching, what position would you want to play?
Parra: I played first base and outfield growing up. Really, I played anything that got me in the line up when I was young.
Thanks for joining us in today's web chat from Brewers On Deck in Milwaukee. We all look forward to seeing you at Miller Park this season!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.