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USA future stars receive e-mail
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07/11/2004  6:01 PM ET
USA future stars receive e-mail
Players answer your e-mails live from the dugout
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MLB.com offered fans the opportunity to e-mail the 2004 Futures Game players and coaches. Here's what they had to say in response to your questions. You overwhelmed us with your questions and we did our best to get as many answered as possible.

Conor Jackson (Diamondbacks), OF -- U.S.
Has the position change from 3B to outfield been easy or tough for you? Looking forward to seeing you in the Diamondbacks' outfield in the near future. -- Sam Reeves, Coalinga, CA
It has actually been a lot easier than I expected. It's not so many ground balls; you're working on fly ball outs and you don't have to worry about booting balls. I love it out there. Our outfield coordinator, Lee Tinsley, has worked with me a lot.

The key is a lot of repetition. Once you see more fly balls, more line drives right at you, it becomes second nature. I've had trouble with a few, especially those line drives. I've looked foolish on a few. That's all part of the process.

Clint Everts (Expos), RHP -- U.S.
What's it like to play back at home at Minute Maid Park? -- Anonymous
It's really exciting because all my family and friends are here to watch and I've always wanted to play in this park. I was in high school while they were building it and I always liked the retractable roof. The games I went to were at the Astrodome, and this is so much better. The grass is so much better than the turf.

This whole experience is really good for me. I get a chance to compare myself to the older guys, watch the hitters and see how my pitching compares. Coming from Savannah and then walking into the park here in Houston, that's awesome.

David Wright (Mets), INF -- U.S.
Do you think you're ready to tackle Major League Baseball right now? I would love to see you join the Mets and help contribute to the success of the team this season. -- Keith Clark
As a player, you always have to have the mindset that you can be ready for any phone call at any time. But right now my focus is trying to improve in all areas of the game.

I've only had 70 at-bats at the Triple-A level, so I'm trying to get better every day and hopefully one day take that approach to the big leagues.

Rickie Weeks (Brewers), INF -- U.S.
How do you describe your amazing bat speed that had been talked about before you were drafted in 2003? -- Brian, Canada
I can't judge my own bat speed. That's for someone else to judge. But what bat speed does for me is it helps me catch up to fastballs. I think it's just natural.

When I was younger, I used little those little spring-loaded grippers to strengthen my hands, and that helped. Every now and then I work on that. But basically, bat speed is natural. I've always had it.

John Danks (Rangers), LHP -- U.S.
When you're in a jam like that in the third inning, does it affect your approach to hitters? Is it tough to keep your composure? -- Rich, Houston, TX
I'm not really worried. I'm just trying to focus on making my pitch out there. In that situation with the bases loaded, I told myself I wasn't going to give up the run or give up the lead. Let the defense do its job. That's been my biggest thing this season. The Rangers have worked with me on not worrying about results and instead worrying about the batter at the plate. If you break a bat or give up an infield hit and they score a few runs, don't worry about it. Eventually, if you keep making good pitches and do your job, the defense will make it happen.

Jeremy Reed (Mariners), OF -- U.S.
How have you adjusted to being traded? Does being with Seattle give you a chance to get to the big leagues sooner? -- Tom, Tacoma, WA
Yeah, I've adjusted to the trade. I feel real comfortable in this organization and I feel like Seattle is a good place for me.

You never look for a trade, but when it happens you just have to adjust to it and prepare for your next spot. When you go for a guy like Freddy Garcia, somebody wants you. In Seattle the whole team, for the most part, has taken me in and taken care of me.

Delmon Young (Devil Rays), OF -- U.S.
What things are you working on in the minor leagues and what advice does your brother Dmitri offer you? -- Allison, Coral Gables, FL
I'm working on just staying consistent and learning how to play every day. It's harder than people think because of the travel and having flights delayed and stuff like that. And the bus rides. The games aren't as bad because it's only three hours a day. But last week in Charleston, S.C., it was 103 degrees, and we played a three-hour game. It cooled off to only 95 for the end of it. But that's tough.

On my brother, he gives me advice about what I should do on and off the field, to stay out of trouble and move along the organization. He talks about situations he's going through now with fans and teammates and umpires, things that happen on and off the field and can be tough to deal with when you're right out of high school.

Bryan Bullington (Pirates), RHP -- U.S.
There's a lot of pressure on you since you were the first pick of the draft. How have the Pirates helped you in letting you work slowly through the minors? -- Anonymous
Coming into pro ball, I knew I was going to spend some time in the minors, a year in Single-A ball, a year in Double-A, and then go from there. I'm just making progress and working my way to the big leagues. The way I try to look at it is the draft was two years ago. I'm in the same boat as everybody else right now, and we're all working toward the same thing down there, and that's getting to Pittsburgh as soon as possible. You put everything else, expectations and all, out of your mind.

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

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