ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Three players in the Orioles clubhouse made an opening day roster for the first time in their major league careers: Pitchers Miguel Gonzalez and T.J. McFarland, and third baseman Manny Machado.
McFarland is getting his first exposure to the majors after being selected from the Cleveland Indians’ organization in the Rule 5 draft.
“Before I came over here, I was looking at T.J. and wondering what must be going through his mind right now,” said manager Buck Showalter. “And he’s earned it. There were a lot of teams that were going to take him in that same draft and there are plenty of people who want him if we don’t want him.”
Third base coach Bobby Dickerson also is making his major league debut today after spending 20 years as a minor league manager, coach and instructor.
“They don’t dwell on it too much,” Showalter said. “The most comfortable time of their day is going to be when the national anthem is over and they finally get into the environment that they’re comfortable in. David Price doesn’t make it too comfortable, but it’s competing and playing the game and being back together and sharing the journey.
“We talked about it yesterday. This is a journey we’re all getting ready to take together again. There will be plenty of ups and downs, and just try to make sure you’re bringing a positive energy every day.”
Everyone inside the visiting clubhouse today was eager to get the 2013 season under way and play actual games that count in the American League East standings.
“I think everybody understands how hard it’s going to be, for any team and for us, too, to do what we did last year, so they have a real healthy respect for it,” Showalter said. “But they’re ready. This team is ready to play.”
It’s certainly ready to play without the challenges of a high sky and gusting winds. The Trop does have its advantages.
“Physically, I think everybody’s looking forward to playing in a little more normal baseball environment,” Showalter said. “We don’t have to worry about which way the wind is blowing here.”
The intensity level figures to climb a few notches with the Orioles having left the Grapefruit League in its rear view mirror.
“It’s just what they do,” Showalter said. “They’ve done it since they were little boys. This is the end game. This is why we do all the things we do, to get to this point.”
Showalter didn’t address the team this morning before batting practice.
“I did it yesterday before they left,” Showalter said. “I said, ‘You guys hopefully won’t hear from me again,’ which is what we did last year.
“Most of the things I said falls underneath the Captain Obvious. I don’t ever want to give them too much where they look at me and say, ‘No (kidding).’ They’ve got it.”