They’ve had four months to wipe away the memory of their playoff loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, but there's no substitute for getting back to work and focusing on the challenge of getting back into position to make a deeper playoff run.
“It makes for a long offseason,” baseball operations chief Dan Duquette said, “but the thing about this sport is you get to start over every spring. There’s always hope if you have a contending team and there’s even more hope and reason to be optimistic in the spring.
“It’s gratifying to be in the playoffs, but I think everybody’s clear that we’d like to take another step and win a championship.”
Though manager Buck Showalter took his share of after-action criticism for holding closer Zach Britton back for a possible save situation in that extra-inning wild-card loss at Rogers Centre, he said he didn’t really see a connection between that disappointment and the beginning of this spring.
“Not me personally,’’ Showalter said. “I think the team is ready to move on from last year. There were a lot of great things that happened last year. You try not to lose sight of that. I like to dwell on the positives. … It’s the first time you kind of turn the page on the previous season. But you have to have that ability with this game as a player, a coach, as a manager, as a general manager and as a fan.”
The Orioles pitchers and catchers already have been working out for three days and most of the position players had filtered into camp before Thursday’s official reporting date. Front-line regulars Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop all were in the clubhouse Thursday and some took their first rounds of batting practice.
The mood in the clubhouse has been upbeat and there is a lot more talk about the upcoming World Baseball Classic and the new season ahead than about anything that happened last year.
“It was a tough thing to swallow ending the season like that,” reliever Mychal Givens said, “but that’s why we call it the past. So, we’ll leave that behind and start over with a new season and we’re happy with the team we’ve got going forward. Hopefully, everything goes according to plan and we’ll get back in the playoff hunt and hopefully win it.”