By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
12:04 PM EDT, March 24, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles executive vice president came into the media room at the Ed Smith Stadium complex this morning to discuss the team's trade with the Detroit Tigers for infielder Steve Lombardozzi in exchange for nonroster infielder Alex Gonzalez, as well as Sunday's news that All-Star third baseman Manny Machado will open the season on the 15-day disabled list.
Here is a transcript of what Duquette said:
On acquiring Lombardozzi:
Steve Lombardozzi is a talented infielder. He is good at second base and can also play third and the outfield. Switch hitter. Good hands. He is a hustler, a scrappy player. [He] has two years experience, and he’s just 25 years old. So we think he will be very helpful for our team. And he is a local kid, He is from Columbia, and we always look for that. ... We’re glad to have him, and we hope to have him here as soon as we can.
On how long the club had been targeting Lombardozzi:
Detroit needed a shortstop. And we have a shortstop. And we have some other players that can backup at shortstop. So we had some depth that was available in the trade.
On Lombardozzi joining the 25-man roster:
We are taking him right now with that in mind. We’ll see how it goes in the next couple days, but our reports are that he can play second, third and in the outfield. And he can contribute offensively from both sides of the plate. Good fundamental player.
On whether news that Machado is opening season on DL contributed to the trade:
It was more about the depth of our infield. We could have taken Alex [Gonzalez] and put him on our 25-man roster, and he could have played. We had a solution in camp. But I think the Tigers needed a shortstop more than we needed a veteran third baseman. We have some other options, players that can play third base other than Alex. ... Alex plays third base fine, but he's a shortstop by trade, and the Tigers needed a shortstop.
On whether Lombardozzi will compete for starting second base job:
The reports are that his best position is second base. ... He gives us good depth at second and third, and with his switch-hitting capability, he gives us some good options. He's already got two years of experience, and he's only 25 years old.
On whether he was surprised he could be acquired for a 37-year-old on a minor league deal:
Detroit needed a shortstop, OK? There's other players that can play second and third, but your first utility player needs to be able to play shortstop. It was the result of our infield depth, which allowed us to make this trade.
On making a good find like Gonzalez who could be flipped:
Fred Ferreira and Calvin Maduro did a nice job on recommending Gonzalez to us. They saw him play in winter ball. And Alex deserves a lot of credit to get himself back to the big leagues because he went and played winter ball, he had a very good spring training.
On Detroit initiating trade discussion:
Yeah. I think [Tigers general manager] Dave [Dombrowski] had Alex in Miami. ... Alex is a good player. He's a dependable, proven player.
On Manny Machado opening season on the 15-day DL:
He needs to meet some of these thresholds with his running before he can play. And after he meets those thresholds running, he probably needs at least 50 at-bats to be prepared to compete in the major leagues. The calendar really drove the decision.
On whether April is possible for Machado’s return:
Hope so. These things take a little time. At the original surgery, the doctor alluded that it may not be Opening Day, right? Opening Day would have been nice, but it's really driven by how Manny responds and meets these thresholds that he has to meet as he progresses back to being an everyday ballplayer.
On Ryan Flaherty possibly playing third base in Machado’s absence:
Ryan Flaherty can play second, short and third. We just acquired two young infielders who can play second and third in David Adams and Lombardozzi.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun