04/05/2012 1:14 PM ET
Iannetta: Excited for new challenge
Traded to Angels, catcher looks forward to 2012 season
I think I speak for a lot of players when I say that I am really excited for this season to begin. You work so hard to get to this point. There is a lot of grinding that you do and a lot of work that you put in, and as that happens, there is a lot of excitement that comes with it. In short, we are looking forward to Opening Day.
For me, everything about the past few months has been different. In coming to the Angels from the Rockies, I am not only going to a new team, but I am also going to a new league. It is a new organization and a new group of guys. I am also relocating to a new community off the field, and as a catcher a whole new pitching staff on the field. But at the same time, things have been good, and I am enjoying this.
Leading up to the season opener and prior to Spring Training, I had some time to adjust as the trade took place in late November. Before I even arrived that first day in Arizona, I decided to walk in with an open mind. There wasn't a whole lot I could do prior to get acclimated, so I spent the time getting myself prepared as best I could. Getting that done and being as healthy as I could possibly be were my top priorities. I took that time to hone my baseball skills to help get me prepared for this challenge.
That work helped me get acclimated to the field, a field that had a lot of excitement around it. Guys like Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen are also new to the team and that has helped add to the excitement. But for me as a catcher, I had some different challenges.
A pitcher new to a team must learn one, two and maybe three new catchers. For me, I had to come in and learn a whole new staff. That is challenging, and it takes a lot of time. Now that I have been here for a little while, another challenge I will face is coming over to the American League. I have had the benefit of Interleague Play for five full seasons, and I have pretty much seen every team. Going forward, I will really get to see how much of an adjustment it will be for me day in and day out. Time will tell.
Hopefully, that adjustment will go as smoothly as my transition to this team. I had never changed teams before, and one thing that has surprised me is how good this group of guys is. You don't want to walk into a new clubhouse that has poor team chemistry, and you don't want to be in a spot where you want to maybe avoid certain guys. But from top to bottom, there isn't a guy on this team that I don't want to spend time with, I don't want to go to dinner with. It is a good group -- a group that is not only laid back, but they are also very competitive and they want to win.
Our team has high expectations and that is a good thing. We are fortunate to be in a good position to win. I feel very fortunate to be in this situation.
Catcher Chris Iannetta is set to start his first season with the Angels on Friday when they host the Royals. Iannetta, who is from Providence, R.I., played for the Rockies from 2006-11 after Colorado selected him in the 2004 MLB First-Year Player Draft.