Jai Miller bears a striking resemblance to Jets receiver Plaxico Burress.
OK, they’re not separated at birth, but they could be related.
It’s been a relaxing winter for shortstop J.J. Hardy, who usually sat at home wondering where he’d be playing the following season.
“It was one of the first offseasons in the last three or four offseasons where I wasn’t in all the trade rumors and stuff,” he said. “It was nice to know where I was going to be in spring training.”
Hardy isn’t striving to improve his stats from last season. He’s never set a personal goal to hit 30 home runs, his total from last season. He just wants to stay healthy.
“Missing a month and being able to do that kind of caught me by surprise,” he said.
Hardy said he has no regrets about signing a three-year, $22 million contract extension on July 16, 2011. He doesn’t sit at home wondering if he should have held out for a better offer.
“Everyone always says hindsight is 20-20, so who knows what would have happened,” he said. “When we started talking contract stuff, I don’t think I got a hit for about a week, a week and a half. I didn’t think I’d get another one the whole season. Signing that contract says a lot. It took a lot of pressure on me.”
Hardy says he sees “a lot of potential” in this team.
“I feel like we’ve got a lot of young pitchers and it’s time for them to step up and do what they’re capable of,” Hardy said. “I know everyone’s been saying that for a couple years now, but they’ve got a few more years under their belts and it’s time for them to do it. I believe it and I think a lot of us believe it.”
Hardy got engaged over the winter. Sorry ladies.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette said he’s still looking for pitching, “but I like the core. I like the offense in the middle of the diamond with Wieters, Hardy and Jones. I think that’s good and those guys will continue to improve. I like the way our team is coming along, and certainly we’re going to look to add between now and when we open.”
Duquette also said he wants to improve the Orioles’ on-base capability. And he’s practically promised fans here that he’ll eventually bring in a left-handed power hitter who’s suited for Camden Yards. They may have to wait, but it’s going to happen.
Is he rooting for the Ravens or Patriots?
“It’s going to be a great game, isn’t it,” he said, laughing. “The Ravens have got the great defense, the Patriots have the exciting offense. My experience is the defense usually wins these championships.”