Feb. 5, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
Catcher and designated hitter Dave Milanes enters 2013 having appeared in nearly 100-career games. The native of Iselin, N.J., was slowed by injuries last season, but back healthy now, Milanes is excited for his final spring on the diamond to begin.
How frustrating was last year for you in dealing with injuries?
"It was a tough few weeks for me. It's always hard to get hurt in the middle of the season. I started the season off slowly and just when I started to get in a grove and feel better, I got hurt. It was hard, but at the same time I tried to take the adversity and learn from it. I never really had to go through something like that before.
"It was a tough experience to go through, but I learned a lot from it and it made me appreciate the little things in baseball a lot more - just getting back on the field was tremendous. It taught me a lot to be able to take on that type of adversity."
Talk about what you were able to gain from the new offseason workout training program.
"We revamped our whole workout program this offseason and it has made a big difference on the field. We're all moving a little faster and our athleticism is better. Everyone seems quicker and healthier, too. I think we're getting results out of it.
"It was really competitive. We set up in teams and it was the nature of the beast for us to all want to win. No one wanted to lose."
What group usually won?
"The catchers group, of course."
What advice do you like to give the freshmen?
"I would tell them to come to the field everyday ready to work. Always leave it out on the field, you can never go back to the locker room and say you didn't give it everything for that practice or game.
"I would also say, `big ears, small mouth.' Listen as much as you can. The entire experience here at the Naval Academy is a learning experience."
What was the best advice you ever received as a freshman?
"The best advice I got was to never be afraid to fail. That came from our captain my freshman year, Steve Soares. Baseball is a failing game - you fail seven out of 10 times and you're still considered good.
"Another bit of advice I got from him was `work hard, play harder.' He always told me that you put everything you have into the weight room, the batting cages, practice, whatever you do, always work extremely hard. But when it's game time, you have to step it up and go even harder. You're always striving to be better than you were yesterday. I have that in the back of my head everyday when I step on the field."
Does it seem like you're heading into your final season?
"Not until now. I have been thinking about it a bit and it's weird to sit here and think that it's that time. It doesn't feel like my last season. Baseball has been a part of my life since I was 4 years old, so it will be a tough transition after this year to not have baseball around as my outlet and fun time. It makes every game and all the time I spend with my teammates this year that much more special."
Talk about your service selection and what you'll be doing after graduation.
"My service selection is Marine Corps ground. I'm extremely excited and privileged to be selected as a Marine Corps officer. I feel like there is no prouder title. There are so many different opportunities here at the Naval Academy and I feel extremely blessed. I'm excited to get my career started.
"This year is going to be fun, but at the same time it's extremely exciting to know there is life beyond baseball."