SARASOTA, Fla. - The Baltimore Orioles had everything fall into place for the 2012 season, but last season they didn't get the breaks they did two years ago. So when they hit the field for full squad workouts Wednesday, they did it with a mission.
The Orioles stayed mostly static this off-season as they didn't add many players until recent days. But that is because they are hoping for young players to take the next step, and other guys to recover from injuries.
"They're relying on the guys that are there now…Dylan Bundy, if he can come back and contribute…guys like Kevin Gausman," says ESPN baseball writer Jayson Stark.
They went from the playoffs in 2012 to 3rd place in the AL East in 2013. The division is wide open this season, and the Orioles want to take that next step as a team, and a franchise.
“I don't think guys are going to sweat doing the little things, because we realize how narrow the margin is here this year. And it was last year, just a foul pole away. I think they got it," says manager Buck Showalter.
"I actually had a conversation with the guys about having to prepare to be ready, and it’s just a different mindset on your first day out here when you can come here and get in your own rhythm,” says 1st baseman Chris Davis, who is coming off a 53 home run season.
The O's have added players recently -- Korean pitcher Suk Min Yoon, and former all-star pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jimenez is a guy that could be a game-changer. "Not very often do you get a guy at his age with good years behind him, and good years ahead of him. A lot of guys at this stage start to figure it out. He is going to give us some quality innings," says Showalter.