Dean Anna had never been invited to big league camp before he was traded from the San Diego Padres to the New York Yankees this past offseason. He'd spent the 2013 season hitting very well in the Pacific Coast League, known for its hitter-friendly environment, but his big chance came when he switched coasts in return for right-handed relief pitcher Ben Paullus.
This spring Anna hit .262/.367/.286 in Grapefruit League play, making his way onto the Yankees' Opening Day roster as an infield option off the bench to primarily serve as the backup to Derek Jeter. Anna was kind enough to answer some questions for me about the process of becoming a Yankee and give fans a little more insight into one of the newest members of the team.
How did you find out about making the team?
The last few days of spring training everyone gets called into the office and I was called in and Joe Girardi told me I'd made it.
When did it click for you that you had a chance to make the team?
When I was traded to the Yankees from the Padres over the offseason.
What was the biggest adjustment involved in moving from the Padres organization to the Yankees?
The game is the same, so there isn't really an adjustment. The stage is bigger, so you have to control your emotions.
Who was your favorite baseball player and team growing up in Illinois?
I was a Chicago Cubs fan. Ryne Sandberg was one of my favorite players.
What's the most vital piece of advice you've been given as a professional player?
Stay humble and even-keeled.
What do you think is the strongest part of your game?
My versatility. The fact that I can play a lot of positions to help the team.
What is your pre-game routine like?
I get to the field pretty early and make sure I get in a good lunch. After lunch, I go to hit and then back to my locker to relax before going to lift. It's usually about game time after that.