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03/17/05 5:05 PM ET

Capuano chats with fans online

Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano sat down for a live, online chat with fans on Thursday afternoon from Spring Training in Maryvale, Ariz. Capuano is looking to solidify a spot in the starting rotation this season, his second in Milwaukee. He chatted with fans about music, his pregame routine and his goals for the 2005 season.

Chris Capuano: Hey everybody, we're coming to you from sunny Arizona. I'm excited to sit down with you guys for an hour and answer any questions that you have.

Capuano: With everything going on in Washington D.C., today, I know I am going to get some questions about steroids. Let's start there, and then we can move on to baseball.

Jennifer_Giese: What do you think of the steroid situation that is going on?

Capuano: I don't actually know too much about steroids. I've never done them, and I don't have any friends who have ever done them. From what I hear, however, I do think it has been a big problem. Being a representative in the players association, I got to sit in on the making of the new policy this spring. And I have to say that I'm really excited about it. I really think, if given a chance, it's going to do a great job of getting rid of steroids in baseball.

mikeymike00: Can you go over the workout routines that you do in the offseason to prepare your arm for the season?

Capuano: I pretty much take a complete month off after the season is over to let my body recover. After that, I do a program that includes running and lifting weights. In addition to that, I try to make sure that I watch what I eat and get into a fairly regular sleeping pattern. That's about it. Given some of the little setbacks I had last year, I've added yoga twice a week into my offseason program. That seemed to help with flexibility and hopefully will prevent any recurring injuries. Yoga or pilates -- everyone seems to be trying one or the other so I figured I would, too.

sparklydbacksprncess: I am a business student here at ASU, and huge D-Backs fan. Can you please come back to the Diamondbacks and can you help me with my homework? Why did you choose to obtain a degree in economics?

Capuano: Unfortunately, you have to do your homework yourself. I enjoy living here in Arizona, but I'm not willing to trade summers in Milwaukee. Why did I become an economics major at Duke? Basically, I figured it would be the most useful degree for me to get. I was always good at math, and my dad (who is here visiting and just popped his head in the door) is a financial advisor, so I had that background going in. Getting my degree before I started playing gave me peace of mind, knowing that I had a plan if baseball didn't work out. I signed with the Diamondbacks on the condition that I could graduate first, and then start playing.


dbacksgirl44: Besides baseball, what else are you interested in?

Capuano: Well, when I'm not playing baseball I'm either on the golf course or at home reading, or, and I hesitate to admit this, playing my newly-acquired X-Box. It's proven to be addictive. In particular, I've been playing Splinter Cell and I'm actually beginning to think I'm a government spy.

kcritell: Many of the guys on the team are married or engaged. Are you single?

Capuano: I'm single.

Base_Ball: Do you ever show off your calves as an example of what someone can accomplish with a hard workout routine and dedication without steroids?

Capuano: I suspect this question is from my old college roommate, Brad. Let's get more creative with the questions, roomie.

pcklmn: What are your thoughts on the Brewers coaching staff? In what ways have they helped you and how do they compare with your time with the Diamondbacks?

Capuano: The coaches were one of the things that made the transition over here an easy one. Ned Yost is a really down-to-earth guy and someone who I enjoy playing for. Pitching coach Mike Maddux has taught me a lot in the short time I've known him. In particular, we're working on a new changeup, which I'm excited about using this year, and I'm learning about how to better prepare by studying the hitters before I go out and pitch against them. I'd like to give the other coaches a shout-out, too. Davey Nelson, Rich Donnelly, Richie Dauer, Butch Wynegar, Billy Castro. Those guys are just fun to be around every day and they make our jobs a lot easier.

Cody_Smith: Hey Chris. What are the teams goals for the 2005 season? What are your goals?

Capuano: I know our team goals are to be able to translate the talent and experience we've gained here into a winning record on the field. Period. It's time for this team to step up and win some games. Personally, my No. 1 goal is to pitch a full, healthy season and give the team a lot of quality innings. Especially after being hurt for so much of last year, that's important to me.

kcritell: If you could play any other position besides pitcher, what position would you play?

Capuano: That is an interesting one. I guess I would like to know what it feels like to be a shortstop. Typically, they are one of your best athletes, and being left-handed, I never got a chance to play there, even growing up. I played some first base and outfield all through high school. But I never did learn how to hit a curveball.

ericthedrinkingman: What is the biggest adjustment a pitcher needs to make as he enters the bigs vs. pitching in the minors?

Capuano: I've gone through that in the last two years. I think the biggest adjustment you need to make is learning not to try to throw the ball harder. You have to pitch with the stuff that you have, and know how to change speeds to throw off hitters' timing. The tendency, especially when you get in trouble out there, is to think, 'I've got to throw this ball 100 mph.' That's just not the way to pitch (unless you're Ben Sheets or Jose Capellan).

Nico_Feld: Where do you think the excitement level is for the players this season? I never get the impression that the Brewers keep that initial drive to win attitude, as the mid-point of the season rolls by, it seems like they give up. I notice it every year.

Capuano: First, I want to make it clear that nobody is giving up out there. Last year, I think we ran into trouble when we lost some consecutive games and a lot of us didn't have the experience to come back mentally and expect to win the next day. I think going through that and still having the same nucleus of guys here will help us to avoid some of those pitfalls this year.

pcklmn: Do you think the addition of Damian Miller will improve the pitching staff this year? And if so, how?

Capuano: I first got to pitch to Damian in a Spring Training game in 2002 with the Diamondbacks. I thought I worked really well with him. He brings a veteran presence to the team. He can swing the bat and he is smart in the way he sets up hitters. So all of those things can only be positive for our team. Chad Moeller was with the D-Backs at that time as well, and I threw to him consistently last year in Milwaukee. I really enjoyed pitching to Chad as well. I think the position of catcher is one that I'm excited about this year.

dbacksgirl44: How much crap did you get for doing that Diamondbacks calendar, and most recently, the article in the Arizona Republic?

Capuano: I knew this one would come up. All I can say is, everyone in the clubhouse got a good laugh about it. So at least I brought some comic relief to the team. That ties into some of the things that go on behind the scenes in the clubhouse every day that make it so much fun to be a ballplayer. There's always an article or a picture to put up on the bulletin board with a blank sheet for comments next to it. They keep us occupied for hours.

Cody_Smith: What do you think of the competition fighting to make the final rotation spot with the club?

Capuano: I don't think there's anything wrong with fighting for your spot. I don't mind competing because I know if I pitch well, I'll earn it. That's how it is in the real world and that's how it is in baseball.

carrie6: What is the strangest thing someone ever asked you to autograph?

Capuano: I had a woman come up and ask me to autograph a drinking straw once. I thought that was pretty strange.

Paul_Hirthe: Are you frustrated with your recent string of injuries? Do you feel that you are 100 percent and can stay healthy for a full season?

Capuano: I don't feel any ill-effects from injuries I had last year. I think pulling my quad during my third start last season was kind of a freak accident and started a chain reaction of injuries that bothered me last year. I tried to do everything I could this offseason (yoga and conditioning) to avoid that problem this year. I can attest to how miserable it is to be hurt and not feel like you're helping or a part of the team. I don't want to have to go through that again.

Kate_Jaeger: Do you come from an athletic family? Did your parents encourage you to play baseball when you were younger, or is it something that you got into on your own?

Capuano: My dad was a really good athlete and played some semi-pro baseball, but that was mostly before I was born. I got into sports mostly because my friends all played when I was growing up. So I played soccer, basketball and baseball from the time I could first get on a team until the end of high school. Basketball was my favorite until about midway through high school. Then baseball started to take over.

sparklydbacksprncess: What do you do to prepare yourself before a game? What do you do after the ballgame?

Capuano: Before a game, I'll usually sit at my locker and listen to my iPod (the best thing I ever bought). Usually, I'm just trying to clear my head and get a little adrenaline flowing through my body. After the game, I go through a series of arm exercises, ice for 20 minutes, and hit the postgame spread (my favorite of which is take-out from P.F. Chang's). I'm definitely a routine guy. In general, I try to stick to the same routine on game day, from the time I wake up to the time I pitch. I wouldn't exactly say I'm superstitious, but I think having a routine puts you in the right frame of mind to perform well.

cubbiegurl182007: What is your favorite pitch that you like to throw? Also good luck this year Chris, you're the best!

Capuano: My favorite pitch would have to be a strike. I don't care what kind of pitch it is -- if it's a good strike I'm happy.

dbacksgirl44: What is on your iPod?

Capuano: I listen to mostly alternative rock, like AFI, Thursday, Breaking Benjamin and a lot of other bands. I always have a hard time answering this one because I think there are so many great bands out there. We get to pick the song they play when we're warming up. Last year I used a techno song (Zombie Nation). This year, I'm debating between a few songs.

Cody_Smith: Were you still excited to see the Red Sox win the World Series last year?

Capuano: I grew up in Massachusetts, so I have the Red Sox in my blood. In the back of my head, I'm always rooting for them as long as I'm not playing against them. Then, all bets are off. On a side note, I got to face my idol growing up, Roger Clemens, last year when he pitched for the Astros. Getting a base hit off him is something I'll always remember as one of my best moments in baseball.

mlb_com_member: What has been your favorite thing so far about playing in Milwaukee, and what has been your least?

Capuano: I didn't know much about Milwaukee before I went there last year, and my first experience was the weeklong Winter Tour in January of 2004. But spending the season there, I would now have to say that Milwaukee is one of the best summer towns in the country. Where I lived, I could see Lake Michigan out my window. There was a festival going on every weekend and everyone was just so down to earth. I can't think of anything I don't like.

mlb_com_member_2: How much advice do pitchers give each other? I know people talked about how much Dave Burba was an influence on the guys in the bullpen. Do you help each other mentally or do you also show each other different pitch grips, etc.?

Capuano: I actually got some help from Justin Lehr two days ago. He showed me a new grip for my changeup and it's made a really big difference. Stuff like that happens all the time -- someone will suggest a different grip or a change in mechanics.

kcritell: Did you enjoy being a union representative for Milwaukee?

Capuano: Right now I am the assistant player rep for Milwaukee (Wes Helms is the main player rep). I got to go to the Winter Meetings this year and have been learning a lot about issues that I never really paid attention to before that are actually really important for all of us as players. The meetings are fairly infrequent. I am mainly responsible for passing out memos (just kidding) and trying to make sure the players are aware of things that are going on off the field.

gameman88: Hey Chris. I have full confidence that you'll be the fourth pitcher in the rotation. What will your focus be pitching this year -- more strikeouts or groundball outs?

Capuano: Thanks for the vote of confidence. This year, I'd like to keep my walks down and definitely get more ground balls. That should translate into more wins on the field.

kcritell: If you weren't playing baseball, what would you be doing professionally?

Capuano: Given my degree, I know I could always go into investment banking, but I haven't found that I have a real passion for that. I minored in a pre-med program at Duke because that kind of stuff was always more interesting to me.

mlb_com_member: What is the most interesting book you've read lately?

Capuano: I'm reading a book right now called Cosmos, by Carl Sagan. I was actually reading it last night, and a lot of it was going right over my head, but I'm trying to get something out of it.

Jennifer_Giese: What did it feel like your first time pitching in the Majors?

Capuano: Well, I'll never forget my first day in the Majors because of what happened the night before. I was pitching for the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders in Edmonton, Canada, in the beginning of May. There was four feet of snow on the ground and there was no way we were playing the next day. I walked into the lobby that night at about 2 a.m. and a frantic trainer told me I had to be on a plane in three hours. So when I finally got to Bank One Ballpark the next day, I had slept a total of 45 minutes. So between the adrenaline of my first day in the big leagues and sleep deprivation, it really felt more like a dream than reality. That rush, coming to the ballpark, is something that never goes away.

Capuano: We've gone over our hour, so I've got to go. Thanks for hanging out!

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.