Rookie Chris Carter, a 2004 17th-round draft pick by Arizona out of Stanford, is hoping to contribute to the Red Sox as a reserve in the outfield and at first base this season. The 26-year-old, left-handed Californian, who made his Major League debut last season, playing in nine games, recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:

MLBPLAYERS.com What was it like to make this team and to be on the Opening Day roster for the first time in your career?

Carter: It's absolutely been amazing. I'm so proud and truly honored. I'm so happy to be part of a team that features so many great guys. So many of them have pulled me aside and helped me. That's helped me realize how special this team is. I feel very privileged.

MLBPLAYERS.com How much did your callup last year prepare you for this opportunity?

Carter: It helped my confidence quite a bit. I was able to come up here last year and do well. I had some success, and I also got to know how great it is up here. It's worth all the hard work and all the sacrifice. It made me focus more.

MLBPLAYERS.com Was there anything about your callup last season that surprised you?

Carter: I was surprised at how much this really is a family. You put on this jersey, and you are part of something special. You know you're here to win a World Series, and you're here to care for each other. We go out on the field and play ball, and off the field we care about each other. It's amazing. I had heard about it, but to actually experience it was great.

MLBPLAYERS.com As a young outfielder, how do you try to break into a group that features players like Jason Bay, J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury?

Carter: I have to be realistic. I know my spot, but I still prepare myself as much as I can. I go out there early, and I still leave late. I lift hard, and I still have the determination like I am always trying to make this team. I put in that hard work, so I'm ready when I do have the opportunity to help the team win. I've decided to deal with it the best I can.

MLBPLAYERS.com The Red Sox are obviously one of baseball's elite teams. In college, you played for a perennial contender at Stanford. How do the two compare?

Carter: Totally different mindsets, though you have that mindset of being on an elite team, and you expect to win. I would say the approach is different from a managerial side. It differs, but I think I'm more acclimated here in pro ball with this organization. I like how we do things at this level, and I feel comfortable here. I had a great time in school though.

MLBPLAYERS.com How do you describe the fan base in your new Boston home?

Carter: I'm from Northern California, and there is just no comparison between Red Sox Nation and being a Bay Area baseball fan. The Nation is so intelligent. People put their hearts and soul into it here. In Oakland, they like their team, but it just doesn't compare. It is very cool. The fans are just really into it. I can tell.

MLBPLAYERS.com How specific can that interaction get?

Carter: People in Boston talk to me about my secondary lead, about how I backed up a base in the field. They know my stats better than I do. They knew I went 7-for-10 when I came back from an injury, and I didn't even know I went 7-for-10. And it isn't one or two fans. It seems like they all know it. I love how they care for their game. They invest so much into it, and that helps add to the whole Red Sox environment.

Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.