- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 17, 2007

Nook Logan seized his opportunity last September to become the Washington Nationals’ starting center fielder. Logan, who was acquired in a Sept. 1 trade with the Detroit Tigers, hit .300 in 27 games for the Nationals. He is now the club’s everyday center fielder. The speedy outfielder is a defensive wizard and a switch hitter who lives in Houston during the offseason. Ken Wright caught up with Logan and talked about how it feels to have a secure job and other topics.

Q: How does it feel to come into camp knowing that you are the club’s starting center fielder?

A: It feels good in a way because you are in that position, but you’ve still got to come out every day and play like the position is wide open. That’s the mindset I’ve got, just come and play like I’ve still got to go get it.

Q: Well then, what would you like to get out of this camp?

A: Just come in here and just tuneup everything. Get out here and work with the new guys, our new coaches and everything, Mitch [hitting coach Mitchell Page] has been here. I’m looking forward to working with him the whole spring, because I never really had time to work with him last year because I got there towards the end of the year, but I’m looking forward to working with Mitch the whole spring and hopefully get on a little program or whatever and get it going.

Q: The club apparently believes in you, inking you to a new contract. Is everything going good?

A: Everything is looking bright right now. I’ve just got to go out there and make it happen.

Q: Are you thinking about buying a house in the D.C. area?

A: I’ll probably rent for now and see how it goes. It’s kind of cold to be up there in the offseason. I’m used to 55 to 65 degrees in the winter.

Q: You’re a switch hitter and had a good little month in Washington. Can you talk about that last month because your performance earned you a full-time job after spending most of last season in the minors?

A: I was just trying to reassert myself, to show people that I can play when given an opportunity. I had an opportunity here so you’ve got to make the most of it.

Q: Do you want to show the Detroit Tigers they made a big mistake in getting rid of you?

A: In a sense you do, but in a way you want to take care of yourself first. Just do what you can do and then realize what you can and can’t do, and then maybe they’re like “maybe we were wrong about that guy. I know there’s been a lot of people in my situation before, some guys who took their opportunity and ran with it. I want to be one of those guys.

Q: What did you do in the offseason?

A: Working out. Working on my swing a little bit. I was in Arizona working out with Carl Crawford and guys like that. I had a guy in Houston that I was hitting with. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff, talking to Mitchell on the phone, watched some video me and him made before I left. I’ve been doing a lot. I just wanted to get down a couple days early and just see where I am and just go from there.

Q: Where do you think you are?

A: Getting there.

Q: Obviously your defense is a big part of your game. Do you feel that you are one of the top defensive outfielders at that position in baseball?

A: I hear from guys who aren’t bad like Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones. You watch those guys day in and day out and go out there and just try to do what they do and talk with them as much as possible and take in as much as you can, incorporate that into your game, and hopefully it pans out.

Q: As a center fielder, what were your thoughts when Gary Matthews, Jr. made that sensational leaping catch on the center-field last year with the Texas Rangers?

A: That was crazy. Actually, somebody recorded it back home and I’ve probably seen that catch 25 times this offseason. They were showing it as a highlight for play of the year and all that. I’m like, “G. Matthews I don’t see how you made that play.”

Q: Do you think you could pull something off like that? He cashed in partly because of that catch.

A: I would love to. If the opportunity presented itself, I would make a play. I’ll enjoy it for the moment, but then you’ve still got to win the game. He [Matthews] had a great season, my hat goes off to him and congratulations goes out to him for everything that he got.

Q: Did you grow up as an LSU fan in Mississippi?

A: I’m a Florida Gator, LSU, all of that. I’m an SEC fan. Florida has been my team, but LSU is the closest team that I grew up watching. When they play each other and whoever has got the best record, that’s who I hope wins.

Q: Were you surprised that LSU bludgeoned Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl?

A: I wasn’t surprised, they played Notre Dame. Notre Dame plays all the military academies.

Q: Then what did you think of Florida doing that to Ohio State in the national championship game?

A: I didn’t think it would be like that, but I thought their [Florida’s] speed would be the difference in the game I didn’t think it would be that much of a difference, though, a four-touchdown game. I thought they [Florida] had a chance to win it and pull it out by a score or two, but four touchdowns? I would never have bet that.

Q: If you weren’t a baseball player, what would you be doing?

A: I don’t know. Hopefully playing football or basketball or something.

Q: Did you play all those sports while growing up?

A: I really just played football in high school, but every day I will go by and watch my little brother [Ja-Mes] play and I’m like, “Man, I should have kept playing football. He’s pretty good. He’s good at all three sports. He’s one of the first players at his high school to start varsity in all three sports as a sophomore.

Q: What high school is this?

A: Westfield High School in Houston, Texas.

Q: Is he getting any scholarship offers? Is anybody looking at him?

A: He’s in 10th grade right now. Actually, he got a letter yesterday from the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. It’s just a letter, but it’s a start.

Q: How tall is he?

A: Six-foot-3 point guard.

Q: So, you must be proud of him?

A: I am. I told him, “sports is good, but you’ve got to get those grades first.”

Q: Does he look up to you because you play professional baseball?

A: He does, but he doesn’t let me know that.

Q: Is that because he thinks he’s going to be there one day too?

A: We had a bet a couple years ago that he was going to win something like rookie of the year before I did. So, I’m like “when they gave out the organization’s awards I was the Tigers rookie of the year in 2004, and told him I won the bet. He doesn’t understand that right now. That’s just a team award. He’ll figure that out later on.

Previous Q&A; sessions:

Matt Chico

Ryan Church

Brian Schneider

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