Schoop vows to atone for missing FanFest

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop said he regrets skipping the annual FanFest event last month at the Baltimore Convention Center and vows to make amends.

“Yeah, of course, for the fans,” he said upon reporting to camp this morning. “That’s why I’m going to sign for them. Every fan, I’m going to sign for them and give them something back. I’m glad it’s over and I can focus on baseball now so I can focus on being out there and helping the team win.”

Schoop declined to attend while his contract status was unresolved. The sides avoided an arbitration hearing, with Schoop receiving $8.5 million, but his absence at FanFest for the second consecutive year drew the ire of manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette.

He missed last year’s event due to a death in the family. Last month’s absence wasn’t excused.

Asked whether his relationship with the team is fine now, Schoop smiled and said, “Of course, of course, it’s good.”

Schoop-Throws-Knee-Black-Side.jpg“I went in there and shook hands with Buck and talked with Buck and I think everything is OK,” he said. “And like I said, I’m focused right now to go out there and do my job and help my team win.”

Schoop is eligible for free agency after the 2019 season and there haven’t been any extension talks, though the club could reach out to his agent at a later date.

“I’m not disappointed,” he said. “I like to play baseball. I come here, I’m not thinking about an extension. I’m not thinking about that. I’m coming here to play and train to help my team win, so I’m not thinking about an extension.”

The organization hasn’t developed a reputation for being proactive in these circumstances beyond the Adam Jones extension.

“To be honest, I’m not thinking about those kind of things,” Schoop said. “I just want to be the best. I want to control the things I can control. I can go out there and play hard and if the talk is there, you can sit down about it. I’d like to be in the present, not think about it, and go out there and do my job and help my team win and see what’s going to happen.”

Schoop indicated that he’s receptive to signing a long-term deal.

“Of course. This is the team that helped me. This is the team that signed. This is the team that gave me the chance. This is the team that went to Curacao to sign me and give me the chance to play in the big leagues and make my dream come true,” he said.

“If they talk about an extension, of course I want to spend (many years here) and play for the Orioles. They’re the team that gave me the chance to be a big leaguer.”

Schoop, in turn, has taken full advantage of it. He was named Most Valuable Oriole last season after batting .293/.338/.503 with 35 doubles, 32 home runs and 105 RBIs in 160 games.

“Every year, I want to get better,” he said. “I want to continue to get better. I want to be better than I was last year. I want to better than I was three years ago. So I’m working to get better, fix things I’ve got to fix to help my game improve.”

Schoop and Manny Machado reported today and will work in camp as new double play partners.

“I’m excited,” Schoop said, looking toward Machado and smiling. “I’m excited to help him out. I’m excited to help him out because it’s a long time (since he’s played) over there. I’m going to help him out a little bit.

“It’s going to be good. We like each other. We like to be around each other so we’re going to work hard and play hard and try to help each other out.”

Schoop tried to ignore the trade talk surrounding Machado.

“To be honest with you, late in the year, me and Manny talked after that,” he said. “I didn’t want to listen to it, because I don’t want it to happen. I want him to be here the whole year so we can win a championship together.”

Notes: Infielder Luis Sardiñas also reported to camp.

Reliever Jimmy Yacabonis has switched his uniform number to 31, which belonged to Ubaldo Jiménez, after Andrew Cashner took No. 54.

Schoop Machado Talk at Cage Spring.JPGJonathan Schoop and Manny Machado catch up around the batting cage at Orioles spring training.

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