P&C report day

Spring Training is finally here.

The Orioles will christen the 2012 season at Ed Smith Stadium this weekend, as the team’s pitchers and catchers –who  reported Saturday morning to a brand new clubhouse – will take the field for the first workout at approximately 9:15 a.m. ET Sunday.

“I get excited for spring,” said catcher Matt Wieters, one of several Orioles who makes his offseason home in Sarasota.  “I get excited every January when you start thinking about Spring Training.”

You can click here for a Spring Training preview on Orioles.com, and below are some quotes from around the clubhouse this morning. I’ve got some (better) pictures off my actual camera that I’ll upload here later as well…


MATT WIETERS

[on the feeling in camp with 31 pitchers]

“It’s a little bit different than in years past because almost every single one of these guys has a chance to make the team; they are all fighting for a spot in that bullpen or rotation. And you’re really going to have to learn a lot because it’s probably going to come down to that last week or two to decide who’s going to travel north with us.”

[on new international signings Wada and Chen] “I’ve met them both and they both seem to grasp pitching which is what our relationship will be mostly, is the pitching-catching relationship. And that’s what this spring will be about one  learning new stuff and also just learning how they like to communicate and how they like to pitch. Because you can get through a game and get through a year once you learn their secrets and tendencies and each game I catch them it’ll get easier.”

[on his focus this offseason]

“It’s kind of the same as last year. I felt like last offseason I had a good plan and came in and was healthy for the whole year which is big. So I just tried to sort of increase last year’s offseason a little bit and come in healthy to camp, which is all you can ask for.”

JASON HAMMEL

[Whether it’s sunk in that he’s here]
“It was a pretty wild week when it happened, obviously because a week before spring training, it’s difficult to change your plans. It basically flips your world upside down because we were all set for everything being in Arizona and Denver. But I’m coming to a good group of guys here and meeting a bunch of new people and making some new friendships on a team that’s made some changes. So I’m really excited.”

[On where he thinks he will slot in, or whether his mentality is that he has to win a spot.]
That’s the way I approach every spring, whether I’ve got a seven-year deal or a one-year deal. It doesn’t matter. I’m a big proponent of earning you places. Nothing should be given to you, so obviously I’m going in with the mindset of winning a job. It hasn’t been given to me.

[How did it flip your world around?]
We had leases and cars being shipped places and boxes being shipped places. We had to stop all that and flip it around. It was slim pickings in Florida and Arizona this time of year trying to find a place, so we canceled the leave in Arizona and we were lucky to get out of that. There were six guys going for two places down here so we had to basically pull the trigger on one.

[On getting comfortable w/ Wieters:]
“I’ve heard great things. Obviously, he’s big so he’s going to be able to block some balls from getting away. I’ve heard he calls a real good game. He’s a young kid, so obviously it will take a little bit of time to get used to him but it’s a challenge that I think we’re both accepting and have a lot of fun with.”

[On being one of the more experienced guys:]
“It’s pretty crazy that at 29 I’d be one of the old guys. I’ve seen other guys in the same position when I was a young kid. I’m still young, but, the guys really reached out and tried hard to be a leader at that age. That’s exactly what I’m foing to do. Whatever my role is, I want to be a leader. I remember at the end of the year with the Rockies knowing that the next year it would be a pretty young rotation there. I’m just going to try to give out whatever advice and experience I can hand out, so any help I can get from them back is also going to be a big bonus.”

CHRIS TILLMAN

[Excited to be back?]

“Absolutely. It’s good to be here. I’ve been here for a couple days, getting myself ready. Getting used to the humidity. It’s been fun.”

[on looking forward to the competition]

“Absolutely. I think competition is what fuels everything. It’s going to be a fun camp. I know I’m excited. I think that goes for most people.”

[on what he got out of last year?]

“I think I learned a lot. It definitely was a long year…not the year I expected, but I think this offseason was good for me. We got in pretty good shape and I think I’m mentally where I need to be right now so I’m very excited.”

[on his he's made any changes to his repertoire]

“Nothing yet. Just doing my strength and conditioning so far. Being able to repeat my delivery, that’s what we’ve been working on. It’s been a good offseason. I’ve learned a lot in the weight room and what I can do physically, conditioning-wise, so I think it’s pushing me that much farther.”

WEI-YIN CHEN [through interpreter Tim Lin]

[on being in Sarasota]

“I feel really good here. It’s a beautiful ballpark and I’m really excited to be here.”
“Especially I like the ballpark very much. It’s so beautiful here. Everything’s great. The weather in Florida is beautiful. Not like in Japan because it’s so cold over there right now. I feel very comfortable to be here.”

[on lifting weights and other changes he's made to his offsesaon program to get ready for MLB]   “I did a lot of early preparation in Arizona because I know American baseball is totally different than Japan. I did a lot to prepare for that.”

[his mindset this spring]
“I will be ready before the season starts and I hope I can get in the rotation.”

[on his future]
“I hope I can be here at least 10 years or longer. When I was in high school, a lot of my classmates and teammates went to the states to play baseball, so that’s always been my dream to play in the MLB.”

2 Comments

Wonderful column! ST is so exciting!!

I’m very excited as well. What a great time of year. No loses and high hopes. Bring it on. Should have something new and exciting to read about everyday with this group. Keep the pics coming. Great job G. Stories stories and more stories. O’s4ever

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