Joe Saunders, who was acquired Sunday in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks, was in the Orioles' clubhouse today and will make his O's debut against the Chicago White Sox tomorrow at Camden Yards. The Northern Virginia native said there will probably be 20 to 25 people coming to Wednesday’s game to see him.
Here’s part of his interview before Tuesday’s game.
What was your initial reaction to the trade?
“I was excited, excited to come to a contending team. They have a good thing going over here, so I’m just looking to contribute the most I can.”
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Will there be an adjustment coming back to the AL?
“We’ll find out, we’ll find out what kind of adjustment it is. I’m just looking to come over here and contribute. I’ve got to talk to Matt [Wieters]. He’s got to learn me, I’ve got to learn him. Everything else is going to take care of itself. They’ve got a great defense, and a pretty dang good offense, so I’m just going to throw some strikes and see what happens.”
Was it always a thought that maybe you might play for the Orioles?
“It’s always been in the back of my mind, but you’ve got to look at it from a player’s standpoint, you really have no control over it. So if a team wants you, they are going to go after you. If you want to go the team, it’s going to be fun. So it’s just one of those ironic things, I am back here at home for the team I grew up watching. … I remember coming to the games, walking on Eutaw Street, going to the left-field bleachers and trying to catch home runs. So it’s pretty surreal that I’m playing for this ballclub.”
What will it be like pitching in the East after spending your entire career in the West (Los Angeles and Arizona)?
“Number one, you’ve got to get used to the humidity. Me and my wife were walking around this afternoon and we were drenched in sweat. So we’ve got to drink a lot of water I think and stay hydrated as best we can. It’s going to be a little bit of a transition, but I think we’ll be fine.”
How often did you come to Camden Yards as a kid?
“We’d come about a handful of times a year probably. It was only about an hour, little over an hour drive for us from Virginia. So we tried to come see them as much as we could, but your schedule as a kid, you are playing baseball, basketball, every other sport. So when you do that sometimes, you try to make the most of it.”
Ready for a pennant race?
“With the Angels we were pretty much pennant race [every year]. … I’m pretty used to pitching in high intensity games, you’ve just got to go out there and do your thing and do the best you can.”