Vazquez chats with Braves fans
New starter fields questions in online discussion
Braves pitcher Javier Vazquez answered questions Wednesday from fans during his Web chat. Vazquez discussed what it feels like to join the Braves, meet his new teammates and be part of an organization with a rich history of starting pitching.
Javier Vazquez:: Hi everyone, I'm glad to have the opportunity to chat with you all today. Let's get started.
lmturby: We're excited to have you! What are you looking forward to the most, as a new Brave?
Javier Vazquez:: I'm very excited to be an Atlanta Brave, and I always wanted to play for the Braves, even as a kid. I watched them on TBS when I was growing up. I'm really looking forward to playing for Bobby Cox.
proga91111: What are your expectations for the coming year?
Javier Vazquez:: My expectations as a team is to have a great year and make the playoffs. For me, that is the main goal -- to make the playoffs.
pathef30: Javi, what types of pitches are in your arsenal?
Javier Vazquez:: Fastball, curveball, slider/cutter and changeup. I consider my fastball my strongest pitch.
gbravesv: You've played for Joe Torre and now you'll play for Bobby Cox, something I'm sure most players would love to do but few have actually gotten the chance. How does that make you feel?
Javier Vazquez:: It's a great opportunity to play for two of the best managers in the history of the game. Joe is a class act and he is great with the players. I've heard the same things about Bobby. I had the opportunity to play for Bobby in 2000 in Japan and it was a dream.
ptownbrave: Great to have you come to Atlanta. I've been watching you since you pitched in Montreal. I am wondering how you feel about pitching in a rotation that could contain A.J. Burnett, Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens and John Smoltz at some point?
Javier Vazquez:: Thank you, I'm glad to be in Atlanta. It would be awesome to pitch with Burnett, if he signs with the Braves. I'm looking forward to Hudson getting healty, and JJ had a great season last year. Smoltz is one of the best pitchers in the game, so hopefully he returns to the Braves for another season. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to pitch with all of those guys, should they all be a part of our starting rotation.
rfmets927: Do you think the braves can overtake the Mets and Phillies for first place?
Javier Vazquez:: Definitely. I think the Braves played great early in the year in 2008, until injuries started to hurt them. So I think that we definitely can win the division this season.
brave2516: Are you looking forward to hitting again?
Javier Vazquez:: Yes, I 'm looking forward to it. Hitting was always a fun part of playing in the National League.
mlbrow5: Javier, growing up, who was your favorite player?
Javier Vazquez:: My two favorite players growing up were Roberto Alomar and Greg Maddux.
fraternone: What is the biggest difference between the American and National League hitters, besides the designated hitter position? Do you really believe that American League hitters are better than those from the National League?
Javier Vazquez:: I think that the leagues are different. Pitching in the AL is tougher because of the DH, not because of the hitters.
gbravesv: What's the most interesting thing that's happened to you since you joined the Braves?
Javier Vazquez:: I've had a lot of friends in my hometown telling me they are going to come watch me play in Orlando and Atlanta because it is much closer than Arizona and Chicago.
lennyberke: What do you feel the Braves' other needs are to become a powerhouse again?
Javier Vazquez:: I'm thankful that I play the game and don't have to construct a team. It's not easy being a GM.
farmer_bill: Javier, what where your first thoughts when the Sox told you about the trade?
Javier Vazquez:: I was excited when I learned I was being traded to the Braves. When you first hear you are being traded, you worry about where you are going, but when I heard it was the Braves, I was excited.
lykotion: It seems like you've always been coveted by the Braves organization. Did you eventually feel that you'd be pitching in Atlanta?
Javier Vazquez:: I really didn't. I thought I had the opportunity earlier in my career, but when I signed the extension with the White Sox, I didn't think it would happen. I'm very excited for the chance to pitch for the Braves next season.
hlanclos: What do you enjoy most about baseball?
Javier Vazquez:: I really enjoying competing against the best players in the world.
ferbert: What will be the adjustments you will make -- if any -- in coming from the American to the National League?
Javier Vazquez:: I'm going to start taking more batting practice. Pitching wise, I'm not going to make too many adjustments. I'll need to learn the league again and learn some new hitters.
brave2516: How does it feel to know Bobby Cox thinks so much of you?
Javier Vazquez:: It's a great feeling to know that he has confidence in me.
24car: The city of Atlanta is big on NASCAR. Do you have any interest in NASCAR? And if so, are you a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan?
Javier Vazquez:: I have a little interest. I'm not a big fan, but I do watch it a little bit. I am a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan. I know being in Atlanta now, I'll have to start watching it a little more.
Javier Vazquez:: I have time for two more questions before I get back to playing with my kids.
ballerness: What's the most exciting thing about coming to Atlanta?
Javier Vazquez:: I look forward to playing for a great organization that I have a lot of respect for. I know the Braves play the game the right way and I look forward to being a part of their tradition.
shababshir: Do you have any interesting habits or superstitions that must take place before each of your starts?
Javier Vazquez:: That's a boring question for me because I do not. The only thing I do before every start is eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Javier Vazquez:: Thanks to everyone for joining the chat. Hope to see you all at Turner Field in 2009. We're going to have a great season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.