I enjoy being a utility player -- a utility player who plays every day, for the most part. I think it's one of the toughest roles on a team, because you're playing different positions. It's all about preparation and being ready when you're called upon.
I've had most of my opportunities at second base in the early part of the season, but Sunday, for example, I played center field because Ken Griffey Jr.'s knee is banged up.
It's a good asset for a team, they say. So good, they just don't have a position for you every day. If I were a manager, I know I'd like to have a player who can play everywhere and at anytime, and can run a little bit and do the little things and get on base for those big guys. But it's tough.
My offensive role on the team, as a leadoff hitter, is to be getting on base and scoring runs. Our No. 2 hitter, Felipe Lopez, really makes my job easier. He's doing a heck of a job, as far as taking some pitches and letting me steal -- and playing the game how it's supposed to be played.
In addition to being a smart hitter, Felipe also has enough pop in his bat to get me around the bases. I think he's been driving me in more than Griffey and Adam Dunn so far this season. With a guy like Felipe behind me, I can be better at what I do best -- getting on base and running.
I love everything about this team. I think we have a great bunch of guys here. I think that comes from up top with what the general manager Wayne Krivsky is doing. He's surrounding us with good people. We really have a good chemistry here.
It would be nice to have the certainty of a position to play every day, of course, but we're playing well with me in my current role. That's the most important thing.
Ryan Freel, 30, has a .374 career on-base average and reached base at a .524 clip in the first 11 games this season. After stealing 37 bases in 2004 and 36 in 2005, he's been successful in six of his first seven attempts in '06.