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Moss reflects on '15, holidays, coming season

ST. LOUIS -- In addressing concerns about the Cardinals' offensive potential for 2015, general manager John Mozeliak has repeatedly circled back to Brandon Moss as a perhaps underestimated answer. Mozeliak described himself as "bullish" over the power potential Moss could offer, and eager to give the 2015 midseason trade acquisition a second chance to prove himself.

It's an opportunity Moss believes he's ready for, now a year removed from hip surgery, and one he discussed with during a recent question-and-answer session. Moss recently took time out of his offseason to revisit his 2015 season, discuss the year ahead and talk about how he'll be spending the holidays this year: How much have you followed what the Cardinals have said about your fit on the 2016 club?

Moss: As far as my fit goes, I haven't seen much or read much about that. I know that coming off of last year, I have a lot to prove. I have to show that I can be the player that I was before the [October 2014] hip surgery. I'm not that worried about it, to be honest, because this year I have a full offseason of working out and getting my legs strengthened. I look at every season the same: I feel I have to earn the job. I want to earn the job. And I want to prove that I am still an everyday player. How much did the effects of that hip procedure linger and, in your opinion, hurt your production in 2015?

Moss: Health-wise, I felt pretty good. It wasn't like it hurt, or like I went out every day and played in pain. I think the biggest area it showed up in was the power numbers. I did things the same way I always had, but the fly balls didn't leave the yard. They would come close, but that's obviously not good enough. It's not a thing where I felt like, " Gosh, I can never be the player that I was before." It was, "Let's find a way to get through this season and be productive and then get that strength back."

When I got traded over to St. Louis, I weighed 194-195 pounds. I usually play at 215. I was missing 20 pounds there. You can't always say that weight translates to distance on the ball, but there was definitely a lot of leg strength missing. I didn't change how I played; the results just weren't there. That's one reason I'm so optimistic for next year -- knowing that if I'm stronger, I'll be back to the type of player I have been. It isn't like I have to overhaul a lot of things. Did the struggles and series of warning-track fly balls over your first two weeks with the Cardinals set the tone for your two months in St. Louis?

Moss: I pressed the whole time I was there. It was such a small sample size, a small window. When you're in a place you really want to be, you want to go out and play well to show you deserve to stay there. I knew I had two months to go out and prove what I could bring. Those first couple weeks were a microcosm of the entire season. I was hitting the ball very well when I got there, and I had nothing to show for it.

It was such a long grueling season for me, because every day was such a mental grind. But I'm very thankful I have the opportunity to come back. I want to show people that I can be the player that I was before the hip surgery. I know I'm not a 225-230 at-bat platoon guy. I believe I can still be very productive everyday player. Now a year removed from surgery, how has your offseason workout regimen changed?

Moss: Last offseason, it was all rehab. Literally, I was non-weight bearing on my right leg until mid-November. Then after mid-November, it was a slow process of walking, jogging, and then I started to run in Spring Training. I didn't start doing squats again until late July, and I've always been a person who gets strength from lifting. I've been unrestricted this offseason and able to do the lifts that I had in the past. What are your plans for Christmas?

Moss: We'll be at home in Georgia for Christmas, and then two days after, we're flying out to Arizona. We're going to spend the rest of my son's Christmas break out there. We have a second home there and love getting to hike around and do outdoors stuff with the family. Do you have a favorite holiday tradition?

Moss: The only tradition that we have every year is on my wife's birthday (Dec. 8), we get our Christmas tree. Otherwise, we're fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of people. What is on your Christmas wish list this year?

Moss: I pretty much get what I want by going to Arizona afterward. Definitely this year, if I were to ask for something, it would be going to our home out in Arizona. That, and there is a really cool lightsaber I want. What is the best gift you have ever received?

Moss: I don't think I've ever been as excited as I was when I was 10-11 years old, and my dad got me a mini dirt bike. I had wanted one so badly, but they had convinced me I wasn't getting it. Then, I woke up on Christmas morning, and it was there. What will you remember most about 2015?

Moss: Baseball-wise, definitely getting traded. It was one of those things where Cleveland was weighing on me a little bit. I wasn't playing as well as I wanted to. It was just hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I got traded to St. Louis, and it was an immediate pick-me-up. It was a place I had always wanted to play.

To be frank, I didn't do awful with St. Louis, but I didn't do well. I was just kind of there. I did the best I could, but this isn't a try-hard league. I was very nervous and very worried they wouldn't [tender me a contract], but now I'm ready to prove myself again.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for
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