Spending part of the 2006 season in the Major Leagues should prove beneficial for me this season.
Playing 59 or 60 games up here with part of it in a division race was an experience that left me better prepared. Coming to Spring Training this year I've been able to pick up where I left off. I already know a lot of the veteran players, so I can accelerate my learning curve with them.
The other thing that's helped my transition to the big leagues is having an older brother who's already here.
After my freshman year at Florida State I had a broken foot and I decided to go stay with J.D. for a month. He wasn't married at the time and playing with St. Louis. So I got to spend a lot of quality time with J.D. and had the opportunity to work with instructors like George Kissel and Ozzie Smith. I'd get out there an hour early and take ground balls and learn from some of the best people in the business.
To have an older brother who let me come along and a team that allowed me to travel with them provided experience that not every college player can get. You see first-hand the way major league players handle themselves not just on the field, but the ups and downs of a season.
J.D. has always preached the importance of staying on an even keel throughout the season and I'm trying to take a similar approach. You're going to have your good days and bad days but you can keep the bad days to a minimum if you take that kind of approach.
During the time I was with Arizona in 2006 I was pretty pleased with my ability to hit pitches where they were pitched, going the other way. But that's still an area that I'm working on. For me, it's a matter of continuing to refine my game, like moving runners along and playing smart situational baseball.
I also feel like I've learned I can play shortstop at the Major League level. All my life I've had people doubt that. I remember scouts coming to me in high school and telling me that they would move me to second base but I kept telling myself I could be a shortstop if I kept working at it.
Now that I'm here everything has panned so far. You could say things went my way but I know how hard I've worked and I know my ability. My goal has always been to be an all-around player, someone who can hit as well as play solid defense.
Stephen Drew, the Diamondbacks' first-round draft selection in 2004 and the younger brother of Red Sox star J.D. Drew, batted .316 with five homers and 23 RBIs during his first 59-game taste of the major leagues in 2006.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.