SARASOTA, Fla. - He’s played in 479 major league games with over 1,500 career plate appearances for four teams, but 28-year-old Jace Peterson finds himself in familiar territory as this spring training is winding down. He’s trying to make a team.
After batting .195/.308/.325 in 235 plate appearances for the 2018 Orioles, the versatile Peterson is in a real battle - maybe an uphill battle - to make this team.
But he said he can only control what he can and he’s enjoying every minute under the Florida sun.
“It’s been a very energetic, very exciting camp with a lot of competition going on. I am enjoying my time and enjoying this spring,” said Peterson, acquired on waivers by the Orioles from the Yankees last April 24.
“It has been awesome to be an Oriole for me. Obviously, the season didn’t go the way we wanted last year or what we wished for the fans. I think this year, we are coming out looking to surprise people and play competitive baseball. When you have the right group of guys who enjoy playing with each other and come to the ballpark ready to work, ready to get better, good things happen. We are moving in the right direction here.”
After going 0-for-1 in the loss to the Yankees last night, Peterson is batting .318 (7-for-22) in 12 spring games with four runs, two steals and one RBI.
The Orioles outrighted Peterson after last season, removing him from the 40-man roster and he elected free agency Nov. 1. But on Nov. 20, he re-signed with Baltimore on a minor league deal and he’s a non-roster player in camp.
He was acquired by the previous O’s management, which believed in him and gave him chances last year. Now a new manager, coaching staff and new general manager are in place.
But Peterson, who has also played for the Padres and Braves, isn’t too focused on that part of the equation.
“For me, I am just trying to show up every day and be a good teammate, work hard and have fun. I think that you can show up and play the right way and let your actions speak for yourself,” he said. “That is kind of the way I go about it. I’m here to not only get myself better, but be the best teammate I can and make the organization better in any way I can. That is my goal and my mindset. I’m excited every day to come to work and be an Oriole right now.”
If Peterson doesn’t make this O’s roster, he could catch on somewhere else. He’s been through it before, leaving one team and catching on with another. In spring training, 30 teams are watching.
“Absolutely. At the end of the day that is the reality of it. Baseball is a business first and you never know where you might end up,” he said. “For me, it’s come here every day, do what I do, keep working and trying to get better. Just control what I can control and let everything play out.”
O’s fall in Tampa, host Toronto today: The Orioles lost 8-7 in Tampa last night to the Yankees to fall to 9-8-2 in the spring. Click here for more on that game.
They will host Toronto today at 1:05 p.m. with Andrew Cashner getting the start. Also scheduled to pitch for the Orioles are Yefry Ramirez, Cody Carroll, Evan Phillips and Tanner Scott. Mark Trumbo, who had right knee surgery in September, is expected to make his spring debut in that game as the designated hitter.
You can listen live to today’s game on Orioles.com and/or the MLB At Bat app. Join me and former O’s closer Gregg Olson for the coverage today from Sarasota.