Q&a -- Jeff Fiorentino

February 26, 2007|By ROCH KUBATKO

Jeff Fiorentino made the surprising jump from Single-A Frederick to the majors in 2005, appearing in 13 games with the Orioles before returning to the Keys. He received a September promotion last year after hitting .275 at Double-A Bowie. Fiorentino, a third-round pick in the 2004 draft, is trying to make the club as a fifth outfielder.

Do you still think it benefited you to go from Frederick to the Orioles? -- It was a great experience. I learned so much from that. The past two years have probably been the most important years of my life. Two years ago, I got called up and then got sent down, which is a little bit of a reality check. Then, this past offseason, I had some pretty bad injuries that I never had to deal with. I sprained my ankle and pulled my hamstring, and had to overcome those.

Even though your curly hair is much shorter, do guys still call you Screech? -- It's starting to fade out a little bit. B-Rob [Brian Roberts] is pretty much the only one who sticks with it.

Since you were born and still live in South Florida, do you get a lot of requests from people? -- I do, but they understand what I have to do out here, and I'll take care of them as much as I can. But baseball's first right now. I have to set my life, set my career, and they understand. They're very good about it. But it's a huge advantage for me because I get this weather year-round. I can be in the cages and out on the field.

Did you work out with Nick Markakis over the winter? -- Yeah, I worked out with him a little bit in Georgia, and he comes down a couple weeks early and gets his work done here. He put on 10 or 15 pounds this offseason. Muscle. We do a little bit of everything.

Is Markakis as quiet with you as he is with the media? -- He's completely different when he's away from everybody. He's a quiet, conservative guy when he's in the locker room. He does what he has to do here, but when he gets out, he's a fun guy.

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