Q&a -- Danys Baez

March 16, 2007|By JEFF ZREBIEC

As part of their bullpen overhaul, the Orioles signed Danys Baez, a 29-year-old right-handed setup man, to a three-year deal worth $19 million. The Orioles' ninth Cuban-born player, Baez has a career mark of 31-37 with a 3.79 ERA and 111 saves. Baez pitched for the gold-medal-winning Cuban national team in the 1999 Pan American Games.

A lot was made of how much the Orioles spent on the bullpen during the offseason. How good do you think the unit can be? -- Well, we definitely have a lot of good pitchers in there. I think we'll do a real good job and work together. But the main thing is staying healthy.

What are your impressions of Chris Ray? -- He is a good kid. We've been pitching on different days, so we've not been together too much. But he did good last year. We are going to stay together in the bullpen, no matter what role we have.

How good did it feel to win a gold medal for your country? -- It always feels good to win. Whatever you got, a World Series, the playoffs, a gold medal, it is always good to get the W. It is good for your country to do good in any international tournament. That's what the players wish for.

You studied physics in Cuba. How did your interest in that start? -- It's like college here. You have to go to the army in like one year. I went to college for physics for three years and then I started playing baseball for my institution. I decided to change physics for playing baseball for the international team. It was hard, but I loved it. My mom, my dad and my brother are teachers in mathematics.

How much would it mean to you to be reunited with your brother, who is still in Cuba? -- I haven't seen my brother in like eight years, and he's the only brother I have. It would mean a lot. He can come over here with me and enjoy how big this country is and how good it is. He is family, and I'd appreciate that forever.

You named your dog after former world boxing champ Lennox Lewis. Are you a huge boxing fan? -- I love boxing. As soon as I get here, I had a lot of DVDs from some of the biggest fights - Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. They were classics. That's my second sport, boxing.

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