This week, I talked to Orioles reliever Troy Patton, who missed the first 25 games of the season due to a suspension for taking Adderall and failing a test late last season. We talked about being back on the team, the new-look bullpen (with some interjection from fellow reliever Ryan Webb), the first-place Orioles, and more.
Q: How nice has it been to be back on the team, pitching your first few outings of the season, after missing the first 25 games of the season due to your suspension?
TROY PATTON: It's been nice. It's been good to contribute again. It was a good feeling. It was a waste of 25 days, but it's good to be back.
Q: How tough was it to miss the beginning of the season and what did you have to do to get back into the routine of getting back?
TP: It was tough to get myself up every day in games that didn't mean anything. It's a lot easier to have a crowd and something on the line to compete for. It was a lot more difficult to get ready mentally every game as I would here.
Q: A little bit of a different look for the bullpen this year with some new guys in the organization, as well as some former starters out there. Do you feel like the bullpen will be a strength of the team again this season like years past?
RYAN WEBB: He thinks we're awesome.
TP: Yeah, what Webby said. They're awesome, they're all awesome. No, but it's a little bit different with [three] lefties. How that's going to shake out is yet to be determined, but everybody down there can pitch. We just kind of throw whenever our number is called.
Q: With some former starters out there, is it nice to have several guys down there who can pitch several innings at a time?
TP: We do. We have the ability to stretch out guys if we need to, and of course we've had T.J. [McFarland] if we need the real long innings. We have some options out there, for sure.
Q: How nice is it for the team to be winning some games and staying in first place the past few weeks while playing a number of games without some big pieces, such as Chris Davis and Matt Wieters?
TP: Yeah, it's been real nice. Going down to Tampa and winning three games against them at their place is very tough to do and with [David] Price on the third game. That doesn't happen very often. We all felt great coming off that road trip right there, that was a great way to finish.
Q: When this team does get back to full strength, how much will that help to keeping this team in first throughout the season?
TP: Yeah, of course those guys make us better whenever they come off the DL and get put back into the lineup. It's comforting knowing that [Steve] Pearce has stepped up and done a great job in the absence of Davis and really answered the call. [Jonathan] Schoop has done great things recently. There are a lot of people that can step up in this clubhouse and who have been the last few [weeks] to help us win these games.
Q: How important is to have depth and have different guys play key roles throughout the season, much like the team back in 2012 when you made the playoffs?
TP: Yeah, it's nice. I think that's a tribute to [manager] Buck [Showalter], the way he can plug in guys to a system and it keeps working like a well-oiled machine. It's about the team, it's not about individuals, so anybody can come up and make it work if they're willing to put in the time.