Brewers Six-Pack: Chris Narveson

Brewers Six-Pack: Chris Narveson

Brewers Six-Pack: Chris Narveson
MILWAUKEE -- Soft-spoken left-hander Chris Narveson is a perfect fit at the back end of a Brewers starting rotation that has made a lot of noise this winter. Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum are the splashy new additions, Yovani Gallardo is the incumbent ace and 2010 All-Star, and Randy Wolf is the crafty old veteran at 34.

Then there's Narveson, 29 and quietly coming off his first full Major League season. He began 2010 in the bullpen but quickly moved to the starting rotation and finished 12-9 with a 4.99 ERA thanks to another strong September in which he posted a 3.13 ERA in six starts to lower his ERA below 5.00. Narveson dropped below that barrier by getting the second out of the seventh inning of his Sept. 30 start in New York.

Narveson has only been in the Brewers' organization since December 2007, but he has roots in Wisconsin. His father, Bruce, is originally from Twin Lakes, Wis., and was a very good athlete for Dodgeville High School. Until several years ago, the family owned a restaurant in Dodgeville called Narvey's. Bruce Narveson married Sally, who hailed from Wauwatosa, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee next to Miller Park. Chris Narveson has family that still lives there.

"When I signed with the Brewers, my mom's side of the family was pretty fired up," he said last spring.

He chatted with MLB.com for our continuing series of Brewers "Six-Packs."

1. How do you spend your offseason?

Narveson: I do a lot of hunting and fishing and golf.

2. That's the trifecta of offseason activities for baseball players. Why is that?

Narveson: I think that when you're around the field and around people for so long, the serenity of being out in nature, doing something away from everything else, it helps. I usually go with my dad, who's big into the outdoors. When he gets a chance, it's always nice to see him because you don't really get a chance to see your family during the season. His company does a pheasant hunt in South Dakota and I was planning to go up with him.

You have to find a release away from the field, whether that's golf or video games or books, whatever it is. You have to take your mind away from baseball, because sometimes you think about it too much. That can bother you more than it helps you.

3. We hear you're a pretty good golfer.

Narveson: I'm all right. I'm not great, but I can handle myself. I think it helps keep you in shape for swinging the bat during the season.

4. Considering your workload in 2010, how much baseball work will you do this offseason?

Narveson: I think for the first part of the offseason you relax and do the things you really want to do to enjoy yourself. It's usually about a month in that you start doing your workouts, and you start slowly preparing for the next year. I always start broad and then narrow myself down to specific things I want to work on. At first, you start your workouts without baseball in mind -- it's more about getting your body going again. It's a year-round job. You're always thinking about next year.

5. You went through some injuries in your career before enjoying a full, healthy season in 2010. Were there ever moments you doubted you'd make it to this point?

Narveson: Not really, because I'm still young and you have that gung-ho attitude where nothing can deter you. When I had my injuries, it was always a big hurdle, an obstacle. Now that I'm older, I can look back and say, "Those things could have been career-changing or career-ending." I've seen that happen with other players.

6. If that had happened to you, do you know what you would be doing right now?

Narveson: I'd probably be working for a financial company somewhere. I got a degree coming into last Spring Training in business and finance and enjoy it. Maybe I would even be doing something along those lines in baseball. It's something I know.

I'm proud of my degree. I told my mom and the rest of my family that I always wanted to finish it, that it was important for me to go back and get it. There is life after baseball. Some people may not want to work after their playing career, but I want to go have that experience. Having a degree will help pave the way for what's coming down the line.

I think that playing in the Major Leagues will look good on my resume because of the intangibles -- the way you have to be on time, be dedicated to a schedule, deal with pressure. But having the degree shows you are dedicated to the work.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.