FanFest quick hits from Duquette and Davis

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette addressed season ticket holders this morning at the club’s annual FanFest convention and acknowledged there was some substance to the Toronto rumors, though his “sole and singular focus” is on improving the Orioles.

“I thought it was important for Orioles fan to know that,” said Duquette, who was coveted by Toronto for their CEO position, which they recently announced will continue to be held by Paul Beeston.

“Like I said my focus is on the O’s and helping them and I’m glad to be doing that.”

Asked whether he thought the Toronto rumors were behind him for good, Duquette just reiterated his interest in improving Baltimore for the upcoming season. As for the rumors being a potential distraction to the O’s front office, Duquette said the Orioles have continued to do what they do every winter: try to improve the team in a day-by-day and piece-by-piece manner.

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Chris Davis also spoke at length for the first time since news hit that he would be serving a 25-game suspension for testing position for Adderall. The first baseman received the suspension on Sept. 25 for failing a second test for the drug and confirmed he had previously had an exemption, but not in 2013 or ’14. He missed the entirety of the O’s postseason and will be suspended through the first game of the ’15 regular season.

Davis spoke for nearly 10 minutes and called taking Adderall without an exemption “a moment of weakness.”

“I obviously wasn’t thinking about the big picture, it was a mistake that i wish i could go back and undo,” Davis said. “It’s something that should have been addressed in the past but obviously I didn’t take the right steps.”

Davis said that taking Adderall isn’t a performance-enhancing drug and it doesn’t have that effect if you’re dealing with ADD or ADHD.

“For me, in 2008 when I was diagnosed, it was never a baseball issue,” Davis said. “It was an off-the-field everyday life thing. There was a lot of times when I was young where teachers had brought it up and kind of mentioned it but we never really went down that road. So when I was diagnosed in 2008, I was prescribed Adderall and realized what a difference it made in my everyday life. For me it was kind of the reason I went down that road. I was little overwhelmed with everything that was going on last year with the [left oblique strain] injury. There were a lot of different things that were taking my thoughts away from baseball and it was mistake that I made that I wish I could undo but I can’t. So, I just got to move forward.”

“The toughest thing for me was not being there [for my teammates]. To me the biggest thing you can do when you screw up is face the problem and not being able to look those guys in their eyes and tell them what had gone on. For them to find out the way they found out, I wasn’t really happy with that. But that’s kind of the way things went with the doubleheader that day. It was an early game, and the way I found out I wasn’t able to go to the field that day which bothered me. But I was able to come back during the postseason. I didn’t want to be a distraction, I wanted to see everybody and talk to them and let them know how sorry I was and two that I was still behind them no matter what. And I think all of that was addressed toward the season last year and we are going to move forward.”

Davis said he had to go through a lot of things this offseason to get the therapeutic use exemption (TUE) from Major League Baseball and was hopeful to put this whole thing behind him.

As for why he didn’t address the suspension earlier, Davis said he didn’t want to be a distraction while the Orioles were in the playoffs.

“When I came back in October I didn’t want to take away from what the team was doing,” he said.
“I didn’t want it to be a sore spot that everyone was going to look at when the team was doing so well. It was more a respect for my teammates and respect for the organization.”

Even without the suspension, Davis’ season left much to be desired. After a career year in which he hit 53 homers with 138 RBIs in 2013, Davis hit .196 with 26 homers and 72 RBIs in 127 games last year.

“I definitely think it was the injury,” said Davis, who was placed on the disabled list in late April. “Early on in the season I was hurt, I was trying to play through it. And i really didn’t realize how much an impact it had on me until this offseason. Until i had time to recover and start hitting again and feel the difference between the beginning of last year and now. It’s something that it’s an injury you can’t really prevent. At the time i continued to play and I wasn’t the same player.”

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