Phillies catcher Brian Schneider taking on his former team in the Nats this week. He has played for the Nats, Mets and now Phillies in the last three seasons and is settling in as the backup catcher to Carlos Ruiz.
When Brian was in D.C., he mentored a lot of young players for the Nats and was a leader on the field as well as in the clubhouse. I remember several times he would be walking off the field during batting practice with his arm around the shoulders of a Nats teammate telling him what to do in certain situations on the field.
I caught up with Brian recently to talk Nats and his new team, the Phillies.
What is the key to your longevity in the league?
“I think it is just a matter of not trying to do too much. Obviously, I have gotten a little older the last couple of years and regressed a little bit. You have to be healthy.
I ran into some injuries last year and had some issues. But this year, I went through spring as healthy as I have ever been in the spring. I just feel real good right now. When called upon I can go out there and catch every day. It is a good bunch of guys. Whatever playing time I get I will make the most of it.”
Remember the Nats from 2008?
“It is a good bunch of guys over there and a lot of them are gone now. There is also a good bunch of people in Nats Park.
I spend a lot of time with Ryan Zimmerman in the off season. It is good to hang out with him. He is as good of a ball player and a yet he is a better kid.
Hear from old teammates Ryan Church and Nick Johnson?
“Yes, I got to see him being over on the west coast of Florida this year and got to hang out with him in Bradenton. We had some fun times and talked about a lot of stuff, reminiscing about those days with the Nats.
Also got to hang out with Nick Johnson. You never know what is going to come out of his mouth. It always puts a smile on your face. We have a good time still.
Bunch of good guys the last couple of years that I played with so I am pretty fortunate.
What do you think of the Nats of 2010?
“They are good ball club. They have gotten a lot better. They have signed a lot of good players. That team is going to surprise some people. They have a lot promising players in the minor leagues. Besides the minor leagues, they have a real good team in that other clubhouse. The Nats are going to shock and turn a lot of heads this year.”