New Orioles reliever Kevin Gregg hears some pitchers talk about how they want no part of the American League East.
Gregg can't relate to it. He closed for the Blue Jays last season and will gladly take the ball - preferably in the ninth inning.
"The American League East is considered the best division in baseball. I'm not scared of it," Gregg said during today's conference call with reporters.
"I didn't want to back away or run from it. I'm up to the challenge. I like it. I'm comfortable with those teams. I faced them a bunch of times last year. And it helps knowing the moves made by the different teams in the division.
"I like our direction over the direction of a couple of the other teams."
Gregg hasn't been promised the closers job, but he figures to be the favorite heading into spring training.
"I know what I want to do. I know what I can do," he said. "Given the circumstances, it will play out the way it needs to play out. But the bottom line is the best interests of the team is what we need to go with. I like my chances of being the closer, but I like the other guys, too. We've got guys with experience in the backend and that's great. You don't have to have one certain guy every night."
One reason Gregg signed with the Orioles was because he saw an opportunity to close. He also noticed the improvement after Buck Showalter moved into the manager's office.
"I really liked what I saw last year of the team," he said. "I know early on that wins weren't coming at the pace they wanted, but I saw a lot of potential with this team. And once Buck took over, I noticed a change in attitude and direction, along with all the moves made this offseason so far. I just wanted to be part of it."
Asked more about his bullpen mates, Gregg said, "They're a solid group down there. I think the biggest factor we have is health. I think if these guys stay healthy, we definitely have a shutdown bullpen. Adding me to the mix here allows us to get deeper, pushing guys to the right innings and allowing them to be successful, and that, in turn, helps the starters."
I'll post more later.