Hunter, Davis on joining the Os

As you know by now, the Orioles traded Koji Uehara and $2 million to the Texas Rangers in exchange for infielder Chris Davis and starting pitcher Tommy Hunter. I spoke to Davis and Hanson tonight and will have a full story up later on Orioles.com, but wanted to pass along some initial quotes and reactions from the two newest O’s, who are slated to fly into New York around 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

HUNTER

[on the shock of being traded]
“I was definitely blindsided. It was definitely one of those things where you look at it and, at first, you wonder what you didn’t do. You start to question, ‘Am I not good enough or something?  It’s definitely a shock, I don’t know how else to put it. I was drafted by this team, I came up through their organization. We went to the World Series last year and now I’m getting traded. It’s different. It’s definitely something that I didn’t think about.  But it’s an opportunity and that’s how I look at it.”
“It’s kind of crazy when it’s the first time you go through this. But it’s something that happens in the game of baseball. I couldn’t be happier getting the pitching coach and the staff over there.  Me and Rick Adair have a pretty good relationship, he was actually my first pitching coach ever. [in Texas’ Minor League system].”

[on playing for Showalter]
“I’ve heard nothing but good things, so I’m excited. I’m ready to go.”

[on bouncing back from his right groin strain]
“I had a pretty significant groin strain in Spring Training, and on my last rehab assignment I did it again. So, it kind of pushed me back and then they put me in the bullpen…I would definitely still consider myself a starter. This was a weird situation in Texas, there was a lot of pitchers and nowhere else to put people. It’s a different situation and its opportunity to start fresh in Baltimore.”

[on how he feels now]
“I’m totally healthy right now. I’m a little sore because I’ve been throwing lot lately. But, I’m ready to go, I’m ready to hopefully move back into the rotation, but if there’s other plans [in the Orioles organization], it is what it is.”
“My arm’s in pretty good shape. In order to build me up [to start] it’s not going to take long. My last rehab start, I went seven innings.”

[on Chris Davis]
“Chris Davis is probably the most athletic person I’ve ever met in my life. He’s a beast. He’s 6-foot- 3, he’s 240 pounds and he hits bombs. I watched him when he was in Triple-A and I was on rehab assignment. And the numbers he was putting up there…he was  probably the most impressive baseball player I’ve ever seen in my life.  You can quote me on that. He was hitting .368 with 24 home runs and 66 RBIs and had like [193] at-bats. So you can do the math on how that works out. He’s going to be good. He definitely has the capability to be a superstar if he gets the chance.”
DAVIS
[on his reaction to the trade]
“I think I was a little surprised that it was Baltimore. I didn’t know how much they were willing to trade me after Adrian [Beltre] got hurt, but I felt like the last few weeks that a few teams asked me about and the Rangers would be willing to trade me. I had heard, San Diego, Oakland, I think when Adrian got hurt and I got called back up they were trying.  It was a little bit of a shock, but I kind of expected to be traded.”
[on having a fresh start]
“It was getting to the point with Texas where it was like, ‘Ok, am I ever going to get the opportunity here again? I think [Baltimore] is a great opportunity for me. It’s one that, I had an opportunity in ‘09 to really solidify myself as the everyday first baseman and ran into some troubles and had to learn how to mature as a baseball player.  There were things I didn’t really run into in the Minor Leagues.

After that it was kind of a shuffle with [Justin] Smoak and myself , I was kind of thrown around from first to third to the outfield. It was tough. But [being traded] really does feel like a fresh start and a legitimate opportunity to play every day at the big league level. I had heard a few things early about Baltimore that it was a possibility…I’m excited about it.”

[on his playing style]
“I feel like I’m a very athletic guy. I’m a big guy, but I’m a very athletic for my size. I move around well for my size. I have a lot of power, I think I have the ability to hit for average and power and I think that’s going to translate the further along in my career I get.

I’m constantly learning about myself and making adjustments up here. I’m pretty confident, pretty easy going, but when it comes to baseball I’m focused. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of the Oriole organization and ready to start playing.”

***

Here’s what Rangers GM Jon Daniels had to say earlier..

“Baltimore was interested in acquiring a controllable young starter and Tommy has shown he can get the job done,” Daniels said. “Except for a couple of minor injuries, he has shown he can get the job done. He’s durable, he throws strikes and has a good makeup. Fortunately for us we have a rotation that’s performing at a high level 1-5 and we’ve got Scott Feldman and we have a lot of guys (in the Minors) coming behind them that we really like.”

As for Davis…

“Chris is in a good spot,” Daniels said. “He understands where we are as a club and our winning expectations. Other guys have come along and claimed spots and it was unlikely that he will get a regular job here barring injury. Where he is in his career, he has a better chance of performing at a high level somewhere else. Baltimore was looking for a corner bat. I wish him all the luck in the world.”

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