Reaching the playoffs last season was a good experience for us. Obviously we didn't have the showing we wanted once we got there, but we got there, and that was a big hurdle for the franchise. The last two weeks of the season were like the postseason for us, too, because we were fighting to stay in the race every game.

Now we're bringing most of the same players back, and we all have that experience to draw from this season. If anything, we're even more hungry as a team to get back there. We want to get to the World Series.

My primary thoughts going into the offseason were to get myself ready to make a stronger contribution this year. I knew I had some things to work on.

I had trouble with my contact lenses last season, so I went ahead and had LASIK surgery to correct my eyesight. My vision is great now; it's down to 20-10 or 20-15. I also felt like I was getting a little too bulky, especially in my upper body, so I slimmed down by about 15 pounds.

After that, I just began working on my swing a little bit -- actually a lot. Going into the offseason, I knew there were some things I wanted to accomplish to get my career back on track, so I made those things a priority.

The results have been good so far. I notice I'm seeing the ball better. We don't have a lot of time to react to a pitch in Major League Baseball, but I feel like I'm seeing the ball earlier -- from farther away. I'm seeing the ball come out of the hand a lot clearer. I'm seeing the rotation and spin a lot better. That slows down my reaction time and gives me another split second to make my decision about whether to swing.

My eyes were a distraction last year. I was getting eye allergies, the contacts were swimming around and I was constantly blinking. Instead of focusing on the pitch, I was worried about what my contacts would do. Now, all that has changed -- just from spending 35 or 40 minutes getting LASIK surgery.

Now I go up there with confidence. I know my eyes aren't going to water. My vision isn't going to be blurred. I'm getting back to what hitting is supposed to be about -- seeing the ball, finding a good pitch and putting a good swing on it.

I've had some talks with our new manager, Ken Macha, and both of us want to see me get back to being the player I was in '06, and I'm committed to that. I spent the offseason putting myself in a strong position to do that. Now I have to go out on the field and make it happen.

The only personal goal I have is to make sure I see the ball and have as many good at-bats as possible. Everything else will flow from that. Our team goal is to get to the World Series.

Bill Hall, entering his eighth season in Milwaukee, has his sights set on getting back to the kind of offense he contributed in 2006, his best season, in which he batted .270 with 35 home runs, 85 RBIs and a .345 on-base percentage for the Brewers.