Reporting Mark Viviano
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baseball season is here. The Orioles open up on the road in Tampa on Tuesday.
Sports director Mark Viviano spent some time with the team at spring training in Sarasota, Fla. and has a preview of what we can expect.
It’s a change in expectations for sure, coming off their first playoff season in 15 years. The O’s expect to be in the playoff chase again this year, and many believe the Birds have the confidence to fly high thanks to manager Buck Showalter.
Showalter is the skipper with a steady hand who helped guide the O’s to those 93 victories a season ago. The playoff roster remains almost entirely intact for another run this year. The players praise Showalter for his influence as they look to repeat their success this year.
“I think he just gives us that sense of confidence and sense of trust that you need from a manager. You know he’s gonna be prepared for anything. He leaves no stone unturned that’s for sure, but the fact that he trusts us and that he holds us accountable and really lets us hold ourselves accountable,” said Chris Davis, O’s first baseman.
“That’s good that a manager talks to you like that and keeps you levelheaded and just keeps you focused on the main goal, which is just play every day and give 110 percent and try to help your team win,” said Manny Machado, O’s third baseman.
“I think they’re very mature, understanding that what happened last year was great and we’re very proud of it and we do want to dwell on a couple things there, but things don’t always follow script,” Showalter said.
Does the 2013 script include another playoff appearance? The O’s success in spring training games only bolsters that belief.
Though the exhibition standings don’t count as the regular season begins, it is worth noting that the O’s spring record was second best in the American League.
“We’re all aware that everybody in Baltimore is excited for us to get up north and start the season, and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Jake Arrieta, pitcher.
Arrieta was the O’s best pitcher in spring games. He starts the home opener against the Twins on Friday.
Jason Hammel starts against the Rays at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
The home opener is Friday against Minnesota. WJZ’s coverage begins 2 p.m.