“I do,’’ said catcher Matt Wieters. “One, we’re getting a healthy Nick [Markakis] back and a healthy Nolan [Reimold] back. We’re comfortable with all the guys we have in this clubhouse and just what we did last year and improving on it. The good thing is we do have a lot of guys back from last year and now if everybody takes a step forward, we’re right where we want to be.”
The big question, after a year that produced some highly unusual statistics – 29-9 in one-run games, 16 consecutive extra-inning victories – is whether that winning chemistry will carry over into 2013.
“The chemistry carries over,” Wieters said, “but at the same time it’s a whole different season and a whole different goal this year.”
Manager Buck Showalter isn’t sure what will carry over, but he was impressed with the attitude of the players during the early classroom meetings here at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex.
“We came in for the meeting and and I was standing over [at the side of the room] and I told John Russell, ‘Look at the front row.’ Wieters, Hammel, O’Day, Johnson, Strop. Most places you go they sit in the back. These guys are sitting right up front saying, ‘OK what ya got.’ It’s a little thing.
“When your best players get it, that makes it a lot easier on a manager.”