Freese ready to start new chapter in Los Angeles
NOV 22, 2013 6:03p ET
And, not surprisingly, he said it all with the same level of professionalism he's consistently displayed during the five seasons he spent with his hometown team.
"I'd like to thank the entire Cardinals organization for bringing me into their family," he said in a conference call with St. Louis and Southern California media. "I made lifelong friends and memories with the Birds. Obviously, it's bittersweet in a sense. I'm a little sad closing this chapter in my hometown but extremely excited about joining the Angels. If it was going to go down, I wanted to go to a team like the Angels."
On whether a fresh start will do him good: "I don't think the frustrating year I had was being a hometown kid. I think it was growing pains of being in the big leagues and learning a lot, understanding my strengths and being myself. That's something I need to hone in on and be me. Just do what I do. The last thing I'm worried about is if I'm going to hit. I'm going to go into camp, be a good teammate and root on everybody else and do what I do."
On his eagerness to put 2013 behind him: "I usually take off until about Thanksgiving to get back in the weight room but I didn't stop (when the season ended). Me and ( Matt) Holliday work out together and we just kept going. I feel good. The back thing got me a little bit early on and having only about 25 ABs in spring training was tough. I just really want to get back on the field."
On the frustrations of 2013: "To be honest, I have a huge chip on my shoulder. If I was a Cardinal or Angel, it didn't matter. This whole winter I'm just extremely focused and ready to get going when the time is right to head to spring training."
On whether he expected to be traded: "I definitely would look at myself in the mirror and say where am I going to be in March. I was ready for anything. I was ready to go to Jupiter, I was ready to go somewhere else."
On his phone call Friday with GM John Mozeliak: "We're friends. Not a lot of players can say that about their GM, their owner, their manager. I'm very close to all those guys. I told Mo I'm going to save his number. He started laughing and said you better. ... We had a very good talk. Obviously, it's a tough thing to do on both sides but that's just a part of the business. I can completely understand that aspect."
On whether he had heard from Albert Pujols: "Albert texted me earlier welcoming me to the Angels family. I said, 'remember what we did last time we played together. Let's go try and do that again.' I think it's going to be good to get back with him and the rest of the guys."
On how he hopes to be remembered in St. Louis: "You just want people to remember the good times you had, and I think that's what St. Louis will do."
He added that he already is looking forward to the day he gets to throw out the first pitch before a game at Busch Stadium.
"When I'm 60," he said.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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