Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis, the new Orioles Gold Glovers, talked this morning to area writers via conference call.
Here are some of their quotes:
Wieters on winning the Gold Glove:
"I take a lot of pride in the award. It's definitely something I always work at to get better, and to be able to win a Gold Glove, I'm honored to be in the same class as the other great catchers in the game defensively. It's an honor for sure. I'm very blessed to be able to win the award this early in my career. I think it's a tough award to win because different coaches are going to see you at different times. We have some guys, like J.J. Hardy, who could have won the award, but you're not always going to get the votes. Just to be considered in the same class as the top three or four defenders at your position is pretty special."
Wieters on following the GM search:
"I'm definitely following it. It's something I like to do throughout the whole offseason. I keep in touch with the media outlets and see where it's going. I liked a lot of the moves we were able to put together last year, and I'm always excited when we're able to put more moves together and move forward. Getting a GM in place is the first move that needs to get done."
Wieters on the all-star nod versus a Gold Glove:
"I think they're both huge honors to be able to win this early in my career. The Gold Glove is pretty special because you've got other coaches voting on it when they're able to see you day in and day out. And the All-Star Game is something you always want to play. But the Gold Glove is nice because it comes in the offseason and you can enjoy it for a little bit. The All-Star break, you've got to get yourself focused for the second half of the season."
Wieters on improving defensively:
"I definitely feel like I improved. The more reps and more game experience you're going to get, the more comfortable you get and the more natural it's going to come to you out there. Also, our pitchers did a great job cutting down their times, and that helped me with my stolen-base percentage. That can really open some eyes, and that's something that really helped me this year."
Wieters on what type of catcher he'd like to see replace backup Craig Tatum (who was claimed by the Astros):
"I think it's all what the right fit is. Craig was a guy where me and him were able to work well together and sort of bounce ideas off each other, and that's sort of one of the things I like to look for, a guy who's going to be able to read swings or help with video to where we can throw ideas off each other and learn from each other. I'm sad to see Craig go because we were able to have a very good relationship of talking about hitters or talking about pitchers or game-calling strategy. And that's what I'd like to have in another catcher: somebody I can bounce off ideas."
Markakis on winning the award:
"First off, just to be talked about in a class with a group of guys is one thing, it's pretty cool. It's definitely an honor. … It was a shock a little bit, it kind of shocked me. I know the [other] guys, the reputation that the guys have. It was definitely a cool honor and something I'll always remember."
Markakis on improvements he has made as an outfielder:
"I still feel good out there, I still feel like I'm 21, 22. I'm just smarter. I try to be more accurate with my throws, try to get rid of the ball quickly, do the little things. One of the best guys in the outfield that I was able to play with, Jeff Conine, he didn't have the best arm, but he could throw some people out because he got rid of the ball so quickly. Good fundamentals and preparation before he let go of the ball. It's all these things that's a learning process. I'm getting the gist of it. I've been working with [Wayne] Kirby in the outfield every day, making throws. … I think, overall, it's just [being] smarter. I've learned not to let guys take the extra base. Hopefully, I was able to throw them out, help my team that way. Over time, it's just maturity, getting to know the league and the parks."
Markakis on right fielders (and left fielders) getting their own award in 2011:
"I was kind of shocked, but I was like, when you think about it, it's like why not? You've got one at every other position -- why not have it for each position in the outfield? Center field, that's one tough job out there. They've got a lot of ground to cover, backing up their [teammates]. That's why you put your best defenders in center field. That's why they win it. But [the rule change] is nice to see because you've got a chance from both sides, every position's out there now."
Markakis on whether he is concerned that the Orioles are without a GM on the eve of free agency:
"I'm not worried about it at all because I know who our manager is, and unless I'm incorrect, I'm pretty sure he'll get it done, he'll get something done. No, I really have no worries about it."