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10/21/09 12:00 PM ET

Batting Around with Geovany Soto

Cubs catcher talks parenthood, workouts and idols

Geovany Soto would be the first to admit this wasn't how he thought his sophomore season would go. The Cubs catcher, coming off a stellar season in which he won National League Rookie of the Year honors, battled a strained oblique and batted .218 with 11 homers and 47 RBIs. He sat down to talk about his offseason plans, a favorite food and a few other things.

MLB.com: What's the first thing you want to do this offseason?

Soto: Have my baby. My wife was due [in early October]. You never know when. It's my second [child].

Note: Soto and his wife, Luzem, welcomed daughter Leahny Gimar Soto last Thursday, and everyone is doing well.

MLB.com: When you were growing up, was there a player you idolized?

Soto: Growing up, it was Pudge [Ivan Rodriguez]. Being from the same island -- he put the name of Puerto Rico way high. I looked up to him a lot. Every time he played, I would watch. He's my idol.

MLB.com: If you could trade places with someone on the team, who would it be?

Soto: I would like to change with Sam Fuld for a play in the outfield. He's running in the outfield and all of a sudden he makes that catch two inches before he hits the ground. Oh my God, he lays out and then hits the ground -- that's amazing. I'd like to know what it's like to dive and catch the ball like that.

MLB.com: This offseason, when do you start your workouts?

Soto: I won't shut it down completely. I'll probably start working right away. Maybe I'll take a week off, but after that, I'll hit the gym and by November, I'll be training full-time. I'll pick up a bat Dec. 1. I started in January [last year] to get ready for the World Baseball Classic, but this year, I'll start earlier to work on my hands and stuff.

MLB.com: If you could be Lou Piniella for a day, what would you do?

Soto: I'd like to go back and think about the things he's achieved, people he's managed, people who he's seen develop as far as their careers. I'd like to see where he was in such and such years. Even as a player, I'd like to go back and find out what was going on back in the day. He's been in the game for a long time.

MLB.com: Is there a comfort food you crave?

Soto: It's a Christmas food called "Arroz con Gandules" [rice with pigeon peas] -- it's a national dish for Christmas. My mother makes it.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.