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11/18/08 4:30 PM EST

Speedster Morgan chats with fans

Pirates outfielder dishes on offseason workout, '09 expectations

Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan participated in a online chat with Bucs fans on Tuesday, answering questions regarding his offseason workout and expectations for '09.

jm_bucsfan: How hard is stealing bases at the Major League level?

nyjer_morgan: Stealing bases at the Major League level is definitely very difficult. The transition I had to make from the minors was understanding how quick and pristine the playing surfaces are. That's why I was oversliding the bags when I first got called up. But once I understood where to slide after having practice with the instructors, I started becoming a lot better at stealing bases.

p_alvarez: Hey Nyjer, any chance you take up hockey again?

nyjer_morgan: I'm still passionate about the game, but now I realize that I'm a Major League Baseball player so I guess I'm all done. I'm excited to be going to the Penguins game tonight, especially to see Eric Goddard drop the mitts (hopefully) with Derek Boogard, two guys I used to play hockey with.

BuccoMGB: Who is/was your role model on the baseball field?

nyjer_morgan: I really don't have a role model. I kinda look up to just the energy that the fans bring to the park and that's what gives me the motivation to come out and shine and be successful for my teammates and the fans.

kirkmlb: What was your biggest adjustment made after you rejoined the team in late august that resulted in your improved numbers at the plate?

nyjer_morgan: The biggest adjustment I made was slowing the game down and not trying to worry about what was going on with me at that time in the front office. I just wanted to go out there and play and have fun.

piratefan11: What is your offseason workout program? Are you working harder than previous offseasons? Do you look at guys like Ryan Doumit who came to the last camp in great shape and had great seasons as an example?

nyjer_morgan: My offseason workout program has definitely picked up with more intensity. I'm definitely working a lot harder than the previous years. Ryan had a solid season and a lot of that came from hard work in the offseason but I know that I work hard in the offseason and came into camp in great shape myself.

palaceben: How upsetting is it to be sent back to the Minors after waiting for years to be called up to the Big Leagues?

nyjer_morgan: At the time it was very upsetting and it was definitely a transition from being on top of the world to being sent back down and having your bubble burst, but that's part of adversity and will make you a stronger player. But if you let those things affect you mentally then you really don't stand a chance in this game.

rickyrossi: No question here just a shoutout for my best friend. just wanted to surprise you and let you know i got your back this year. good luck and god bless!!!! your boy chuck b.

nyjer_morgan: What up, Big Chuck?

jm_bucsfan: What is your relationship with Nate McLouth like?

nyjer_morgan: Me and Nate, ever since I first met him in the minors, we've always had a good relationship. Even though I'm a year or two older than him, I still look up to him because he is a little more experienced and seasoned at the Major League level. And our relationship is fine. It's just peachy.

ballerness: What skills do you plan on working on this offseason?

nyjer_morgan: The skills are coming into camp ready to go, ready to compete. Just go out there and just play hard and with a lot of enthusiasm and fun, and hopefully bring a lot of energy so fans can enjoy coming to the ballpark every night and watch the Buccos get after it.

piratefan11: Have you or the organization set goals for you for the 2009 season?

nyjer_morgan: Our goal as a team is to come out each night prepared for any type of situation and leave it all out on the field and just bring a lot of energy.

rabayer: From your experience with the team last year, do you feel the Pirates have the pieces in place to make a run at the division next year? What are feelings like around the locker room and such?

nyjer_morgan: I definitely think we have the pieces. You know we might not be ready for the top of the mountain in the National League Central, but we're going to sneak up on a lot of teams this year because as you fans know, and me being a player, we have the pieces but are maybe missing just a few. We have the right people in the front office and on the coaching staff to get us to being one of the top organizations in baseball once again.

jasbird9: If you could compare yourself to any other baseball player playing or retired who would that be?

nyjer_morgan: I think it would be Juan Pierre, but I have just a little more pop.

sdtelvanni: What was your most memorable experience in the Minor Leagues?

nyjer_morgan: Probably my first championship with Williamsport in 2003 and I ended up winning the organizational batting champ that year by batting .343.

p_alvarez: How confident are you in having a starting role in 2009?

nyjer_morgan: I'm very confident about it. I just want to build off of how I finished off last year and just be ready to at the top of the order and get the things rolling for the '09 campaign.

jsole10: What is your favorite thing about playing in Pittsburgh?

nyjer_morgan: The fans because they are so passionate about this game. There's so much history in the city of Pittsburgh and the Primanti's sandwiches. I never had one of those until a couple of days after I got here. I got the corned beef, fries and cole slaw.

signdante: Who would win in a race: Nyjer Morgan running the bases, or Nyjer Morgan ice skating in a hockey rink?

nyjer_morgan: Nyjer Morgan on the ice.

caparosa: How long were you a fan of baseball before you started to play?

nyjer_morgan: I've always been a fan. I think it started from my grandfather and he instilled in my dad the love for the game. My dad had me at the field at the age of three hitting ground balls to me.

sdtelvanni: Who was the toughest pitcher you faced this year?

nyjer_morgan: All of them (laughing). That's why they're in the big leagues.

kirkmlb: Any ballpark jump out at you that you would consider a tough place to play outfield? One you enjoyed the most?

nyjer_morgan: Houston. The reason is because there are so many different angles and so many new different dimensions especially with the hill right behind you in center field. I think that's probably one of the difficult ballparks in the league.

caparosa: Do you enjoy going to camp and being with your team mates?

nyjer_morgan: Yeah, I always enjoy going to camp because you haven't seen those guys in about six months and then when you're together you're a family. After not seeing someone for such a long time, it's enjoyable to see the same faces.

Welby: What is your relationship with new Bucs Andy Laroche, [Brandon] Moss, and [Craig] Hansen?

nyjer_morgan: All four of us get along. Andy is a great guy. Brandon Moss is really funny and Hansen's just real laid back.

jsole10: Other than PNC Park what is your favorite ballpark to play in?

nyjer_morgan: Wrigley Field because the atmosphere and the history and especially the fans that are behind you. Those rowdy fans in the outfield that are right on top of you.

j2square: How hard is it to make it to the bigs?

nyjer_morgan: It's very hard. But with hard work and believing in yourself, any of your goals can be accomplished even though there might be some bumps in the road.

dogs717: What does it feel like to show that a 33rd round Draft pick could get to the Majors?

nyjer_morgan: It doesn't really matter where you are drafted. All I really wanted was an opportunity to show people that I can play this game at the professional level.

Mungo: Nyjer you seem to have so much fun playing the game, you remind me of Kirby Puckett, just out there having fun. How do you stay so loose and play so well?

nyjer_morgan: Because I never forgot it's still a game and this game always should be fun.

bucsfan79: Any memorable hecklers behind you in the outfield?

nyjer_morgan: Oh yeah. I was in San Francisco and they were telling me this is Bonds country so I kicked the grass and made a nice little divot in there and told them this was my land.

pittguest: Thank you, everyone, once again for joining Nyjer Morgan in his Web chat today. Our next Web chat is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 3, with Frank Coonelly at 2:00 p.m. ET. Thanks again!

nyjer_morgan: Thanks fans. I really enjoyed talking with you. We'll see you here for the 2009 season.

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