I'm taking pictures at every ballpark we've been to this season. I'm looking for anything cool about the stadium. When we visited Yankee Stadium, I went out to Monument Park and took some shots. I was up close to the monuments for Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle. It was pretty neat being out there.
One day I want to show these pictures to my kids -- hopefully I'm still playing when they could understand them -- and for some memories for me.
After all I've been through, I'm just trying to relish being in the big leagues. Last year, I was up for all of seven innings before I got hurt. You never know when that could happen again. So I'm not taking anything for granted. I'm trying to be present and in the moment every single day.
:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::
I first got called up to the big leagues with Arizona in 2013. I was 22. I had moved up through every level of the Minor Leagues, and I thought I was here to stay. It didn't work out that way.
After getting traded to the White Sox, I hit a two-year bump in the road. I really struggled. I wasn't very happy for those two years. I wanted to be in Chicago, not Charlotte.
Looking back, I'm glad I went through that. It's a good lesson for anybody to learn, especially young people. You learn the most about yourself when you're in tough spots.
I learned you have to be happy with what you have at those moments. Sometimes, you chase things that you don't necessarily need. Once I figured out what I needed personally -- and it wasn't necessarily to succeed at the game of baseball -- I got a different perspective. What's important is enjoying my life and my family, regardless if I got a hit or not that day. It took me two years to get to that mindset, and I never want to leave it.
When you surrender to things you can't control -- like hitting a line drive that gets caught by the shortstop -- it definitely takes a lot of pressure off. You start to enjoy the game like you did when you were young.
It was a tough road, but I started to build confidence that I was able to overcome all the obstacles. Last year, I wanted to prove to myself that I could get back to the big leagues. After I got off to a good start at Charlotte, I got the call.
In my first game, when I rounded first, my foot went numb. When J.B. Shuck hit a double, I thought I was going to fall over with each step running to third. Eventually I told Robin Ventura, "I don't know what's wrong, but I can't feel my foot." The next thing you know, they tell me my foot's broken. The next day I have surgery, and the next day I'm back home with my family in Southern California. I did all that work to get back and get called up, and then you're back to nothing.
However, even with the injury, I did feel a sense of calm. It helped that my son was born a few weeks later. My wife and I were plenty busy trying to handle two kids. It got me away from thinking about the game for a little bit.
I'm sure my wife will tell you I wasn't calm at some points. I know I had some bad days. But when you hit .200 for two years in a row, you learn how to handle things better.
Now I had another challenge -- rehab the foot and get back to the big leagues again. That's what I did.
I believe I am a good enough player to play here in the big leagues. When I got off to a good start this year, it showed what I'm capable of doing. It drives you to want to do it again. But baseball players also know there are going to be games where things aren't going to go so well. That's the way the game is. You try to keep a level head, stay in the middle, not get too up or too down.
Looking back, if I have had stayed in the big leagues since 2013, I don't think I would have been as good as I am now. I'm thankful I've learned so much. I'm in the best spot mentally and physically that I've ever been baseball-wise.
I'm enjoying the moment, and I'm going to keep taking those pictures.