Frank Robinson visits camp

SARASOTA, Fla. - Nelson Cruz won’t work out with the Orioles today, according to executive vice president Dan Duquette.

Cruz is listed on the practice sheet, but he isn’t on the field.

The Orioles are expected to announce Cruz’s signing later today, though Duquette said the club is still “working on some things.” That probably means the corresponding 40-man roster move.

Outfielder Quintin Berry left the workout today with members of the athletic training staff. He may have an issue with his back. I’ll check on it later.

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson accepted Duquette’s invitation, passed along at the owners meetings, to talk to the team before the workout.

What message did he deliver?

Frank Robinson talks.jpg“I just talked about what I’ve experienced over time, and what I feel like might be able to help them,” Robinson, 78, said later while meeting with reporters. The one thing I tried to get along is it’s a team game, not individuals. If the team has success, everybody has success. If you don’t and the team doesn’t play well and you don’t function well and you wind up in seventh or eighth place, whatever, I don’t care what you’ve done as an individual. It’s not going to feel the same, it’s not going to taste the same, and you’re not going to be the same.

“Just go out there and do what you can do to help the team each day, each at-bat, each play, each pitch, how to help the team.”

Robinson wore an orange polo shirt that he joked had been retired until the past few years.

Here are a few more quotes from Robinson, who serves as Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball development:

On moves the Orioles have made:

“I don’t keep up that closely with them because I’m supposed to be neutral where I am with Major League Baseball. They’ve really come a long way. I told them, the last 13 years I’ve had this shirt in my closet and I didn’t wear it. The last couple of years I broke it out and wear it now because I’m very proud of what this team did.

“I’m very proud of this team. They brought back the pride in the Orioles. They brought back a lot of good times for us old timers, and it’s just great to see.”

On whether the organization turned the corner:

“I think so. It took them a while, a piece here and a piece there. It’s like putting a team together, and they finally got the right pieces together and they mesh very well from top to bottom, and I think that’s the big difference in the people that they now have running this team from the warehouse and the person that they have in the dugout. With Buck (Showalter) there, they’re well on the way to turning this thing around. When Dan came in, two years ago, three years ago, I said, ‘That’s another very good piece.’ They’ve been able to do their jobs and get people in here and the players have responded.”

On whether Showalter asks him for advice:

“No. He shouldn’t, either. No way. I wouldn’t expect him to. I would feel honored if it happened, but I probably wouldn’t be able to talk because I’d be flabbergasted about it. He knows what he’s doing and he does everything the way it should be done, the right way. That doesn’t mean it always turns out right, but he does things the right way, and the players believe in him and he has full control of it.”

On the Orioles reaching out to past players:

“They’ve been including us old-timers in things and bringing us back for days of celebration. One of the most wonderful things was when they brought us six Hall of Famers back for the statues. That was amazing. And when Dan invited me here, Buck invited me last year. I feel good about that. I feel like they are now starting to include and reach out to players of the past. And I like that. I’m very honored that they asked me to come here and talk to the players.

On current players benefiting from Orioles reaching back to their past:

“They need to have that connection with the past in baseball today. I think this ballclub is starting to realize that and do that. I talked to the Angelos’ about that years ago about including the previous players from the past, to come and just be a part of this organization. One thing I’d like to see, maybe the next step, they bring some of the guys in as special instructors in spring training, just to get them around the players. Talk to them, be around them, let them see them.

“I told them, I saw my blood is not orange like Tommy (Lasorda’s) is blue, but I’m certainly an Oriole through and through. This is the place I had the greatest team success and the greatest individual success of my career right here. And it wasn’t just what happened on the field. It was a great relationship and feeling with the city and organization. And I was very proud of that.”

On when the Orioles reconnected their past with the present:

“I think it started with Buck. His first year, he started having things done with numbers and names of players, statues, in the clubhouse and down here. Making the players understand and appreciate the past and who helped build this organization into what it used to be. I think it might have helped some. And then Dan came along and the two of them working together, I think they’ve done a great job as far as including past players.”

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