When I first got called up to the Cubs this season, Alfonso Soriano said, "You look like a ballplayer, but are you the bat boy?" I started laughing and he said he was just messing with me, then he congratulated me.

Since then, it's been a great experience. I've gotten the chance to get some real playing time and I've done things to help the team win. It's been unbelievable.

I started the season in Triple-A Iowa, working hard. I had been taken off the 40-man roster for the first time and I just wanted to work hard to get back there. I was called up twice this season and the second time I really got a chance to play and I started doing things to help the team win.

You don't expect to go from being a first-round draft pick (Baltimore Orioles, 2001) to not being on a 40-man roster. But it was like a wakeup call. You just work that much harder and don't take anything for granted. That's what it's been like for me. I go out every day and work hard and don't beat around the bush with the way I play.

When the Cubs signed Mark DeRosa and decided to keep Ryan Theriot and Ronny Cedeno on the roster after Spring Training, I didn't think I'd have much of a chance to make the club this year. So I just went to Iowa with the idea that I would work hard and try and put up good numbers and have a good season.

I came to the Cubs in 2005 in the Sammy Sosa deal. I was surprised, of course. You never think you're getting traded by the team that drafts you. But once it sunk in, I realized I was getting a new start. Being involved in that particular trade was something special because of all the special things Sammy did here, all of his 60-homer seasons. You can get lost in the shuffle in a new organization, but I just figured if they wanted me in that trade, they wanted me around.

One of the highlights so far this season has been playing with Ryan Theriot. We grew up in Louisiana together and played for LSU at the same time. That's another thing that makes this experience special.

I've only played parts of two seasons with the Cubs' Triple-A team, but we have a lot of guys from those teams up here now and it feels good. We've come up the ranks and been given a chance to do well. It's exciting for us to see each other succeed.

We're winning now and our fans are behind us. That's what you always want. It's great to see our fans out here at Wrigley Field every day. They want us to do well and hopefully we can keep winning.

Second baseman Mike Fontenot has been a sparkplug, batting .331 with three homers and 20 RBIs in 136 at-bats with the Cubs this season. The former LSU star has helped the Cubs overcome a poor start and turn into a pennant contender since his callup from Triple-A Iowa.