D-Train on joining the Orioles
Dontrelle Willis was here bright and early this morning, and he will wear No. 25 in camp. His locker is situated among a row of catchers and the veteran had a wide grin on his face. Here’s what he had to say..
[on joining the Orioles] “The opportunity was definitely good and I’ve played with a bunch of these guys and against these guys, so I’ve always had a great deal of respect for them. I’m definitely getting used to coming out of the bullpen and stuff like that. It seems like the bullpen was already set for Philadelphia, so this is another opportunity to go out there with another young, talented team and go out there and show my stuff.”
[on how was he throwing with Philly?] “Good. The one thing about it – I was just telling Adam Jones – is that the bullpen is a different beast for me as far as, in my career, I’ve never done it before. At first it was a little shaky, but I finally started to get my bearings and get comfortable about going out there, because everybody’s different in the bullpen – how to get ready and how to get prepared and stuff like that. I was definitely getting my bearings under my feet, so I’m going to continue to do stuff like that and get used to my role over here.”
[on if he thinks he will be able to find a place here?] “I hope so, I definitely hope so, or ill go home. Simple as that. I hope so. Like I said, I have fun playing baseball and the day that I don’t ill go home. I have kids and a family, we’ve sacrificed a lot to be here as far as our family. But I love playing baseball and love the camaraderie and I love being around, and if I go home and somebody wants me to be a coach and get a fungo, ill do that too. I don’t really look at it like that, I just love playing the game.”
[physically where he’s at given that he had arm soreness with the Phillies this spring] “I’m good now though. Right before I got let go in Philadelphia I was able to get into a game and get some work in. So I just got to catch up with some throwing and stuff and go from there.”
[on if he can make the Orioles out of camp]
“I hope so. Whatever they want me to do. It’s so late in Spring Training, I just want to go out there, get in some games and see how it goes and take it one day at a time. It’s tough because the timing of me coming over here. I’m open to anything as long as I can get some good work in and go from there.
I actually got here about three hours ago, I passed my physical and go back in will get my running in. that’s one thing about baseball, you’ve had a couple days off you got to go get back in and get your bearings and stuff.”
[tough given his success to be pitching in the minors?] “No, I was able to actually reinvent myself because as a young guy, they swing at everything. That’s the one thing about it. You learn quickly to try to master your offspeed stuff and do stuff like that. It’s exciting. They made me feel old, because they were like, ‘I remember watching you on TV.’ And I’m like, ‘Whoa, I just turned 30.’ But they play hard, because they definitely want to get that first home run off Dontrelle. So you have fun going out there and battling, reinventing yourself. You see a lot of guys going and reinventing themselves. That’s what I did last year, going down there and starting and working on my mechanics.”
Willis said the good part about being a part of so many organizations is he knows a few guys on every team, including the Orioles. He’s particularly close with center fielder Adam Jones.
“They are excited, they are revamped, even the ballpark here, I drove past it, it’s all new and stuff. So it’s good to come here and see guys excited and ready to work.”