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Huff chats with fans online
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01/09/2004  3:07 PM ET
Huff chats with fans online
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"He's the perfect manager for this team," Aubrey Huff said of Lou Piniella. (Paul Battaglia/AP)
Tampa Bay slugger Aubrey Huff signed a three-year, $14.5 million contract on Thursday. On Friday he took time to chat with fans online about how he celebrated his new deal, the tough AL East and how he thinks the Rays will fare next season.

Moderator: Welcome to today's chat. Aubrey is ready to answer your questions.

alexia23fl: Hi Aubrey! I am so happy about yesterday's deal. I wanted to know what personal goals you have for yourself this season. Also, what is your opinion about mainly being a DH this year. Thanks!!

Aubrey Huff: I don't ever really make personal goals, except to hit .300 and everything usually falls in place after that. As for DH, we signed a great right fielder in Jose Cruz. It looks like I'll play a little bit of first and a little bit of right. It's OK with me.

Gil_Ceder: How did you keep focus at the plate while learning a new position?

AH: You've just got to separate the two. You can't think about hitting while in the field or fielding while at the plate. It's not really an issue for me.

Robert_Ziemlak: Hi Aubrey. Thanks for helping my fantasy team this past season. You made me look like a genius. What advice would you give kids for hitting?

AH: Have your mom and dad buy a batting cage and work your butt off. That's what my mom did. I started hitting in that thing when I was six or seven years old.

Base_Ball_2: Aubrey, what part of your game have you been working on the most this offseason?

AH: I start running in October and lifting in November. I don't pick up a bat or ball until January.

JOE_BURGESS: Aubrey, do you feel like you were slighted by not making the All-Star team after such a great first half last year?

AH: Not really. It's definitely an honor to go. But Lance Carter had a good year last year and I think people overlook just how well he did.

jonana: Hi Aubrey. Did you do anything to celebrate your new contract?

AH: I took my mom, sister, girlfriend, best buddy and agent to Malio's restaurant in Tampa last night and had a very good time.

raysfansf: In your opinion, who was the best free agent pickup or trade of this offseason?

AH: Tino Martinez. He brings a lot of leadership to our team. And offensively, coming back to the American League, I think he's going to have a heckuva year.

bat: Do you play video games? Do you have a favorite baseball game to play?

AH: I don't play baseball video games. But I like to play Madden Football, Play Station 2. I try to get the new version every year.

Base_Ball_2: Tampa now has a great manager and home-grown stars such as yourself. What else does Tampa need to do to be a contender?

AH: Eventually, we're going to need to pick up a couple of front-line starting pitchers. Not for this year but probably in the near future.

david396: Aubrey, how do you feel about Baltimore's rising offensive lineup? Do you think they'll provide a new challenge to the AL East?

AH: I think the whole AL East will be a little different this year. I know it's been the same, standings-wise, for awhile, but I think it's hands-down the hardest division in baseball. This division did the most this offseason. It should be exciting.

thenockmlb: What pitcher do you fear the most when you come up to bat?

AH: I don't really fear a pitcher. I don't like to face a couple. Andy Pettitte was always tough for me. Thank goodness he's in the NL now.

thenockmlb: What was your favorite sport growing up?

AH: I liked playing basketball but it turned out I was better at playing baseball.

Base_Ball: Who is your favorite buddy on the Devil Rays?

AH: Travis Harper. He's just a really laid back guy like myself. He likes country music like I do and he's been on a lot of the same (minor league) teams with me. He's my traveling buddy.

raysfansf: Aubrey, what position do you think you are most fitted to play?

AH: Right field. I felt more comfortable out there last year. It felt more natural.

bat: What is your favorite park to play in?

AH: Camden Yards or The Ballpark in Arlington. Very friendly hitter's parks with grounds that are well maintained.

dragdashon: Do you still keep in touch with your old college teammates at UM like Pat Burrell or Bobby Hill?

AH: I keep in touch with Burrell quite a bit. I haven't talked to Hill in a while.

yogimax: My name is Max from NJ! Up here in Yankee country I fly the Devil Ray colors and wanted to know what affect Lou Piniella has had on the young guys in your clubhouse? What does Lou do to keep you guys on course, keep you going?

AH: He's intense and has a way of keeping the young guys on their toes. He's the perfect manager for this team. He turned around the teams in Cincinnati and Seattle and hopefully he can do the same thing here.

Moderator: That wraps up today's chat with Aubrey Huff. Thanks for participating.

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

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