Q&a -- Ramon Hernandez

March 29, 2007|By JEFF ZREBIEC

The Orioles signed catcher Ramon Hernandez to a four-year, $27.5 million deal in December 2005. In his first season with the Orioles, he batted .275 and established career highs in home runs (23), RBIs (91), doubles (29) and games played (144). His 87 RBIs as a catcher - he also had four as a designated hitter - broke the club record, set by Chris Hoiles in 1993. Hernandez, who has three sons with his wife, Bellatrix, signed with the Oakland Athletics as an undrafted free agent in 1994. He was traded to the San Diego Padres in 2003 before signing with the Orioles.

What do you think the biggest factor was in you having a career offensive season last year? -- I guess all the work I've been doing throughout my career. I've always worked hard and tried to get better and I think that is going to pay off sooner or later. It's good when you see it pay off quickly.

How do you think your starting rotation has looked this spring? -- It looks pretty solid. Definitely. [Erik Bedard] is our No. 1. The other guys are all veterans now. They know what to do.

What has been the worst home-plate collision you've been involved in? -- It was in 2005. Howie Clark slid into my knee in Toronto. I was out for like a month.

What is the worst part about being a catcher? -- Having to go out a half-hour before the game and warm up the pitcher all the time. It's earlier than everybody. Definitely, that's the worst part.

Off the field, how do you spend your time? -- I'm not really different. But I am a little more laid-back. I go home, watch TV or I'll go out and eat and watch movies.

What were your impressions of the city of Baltimore in your first year here? -- The people of Baltimore, I like. They really support the team a lot. That's something that everybody has to be proud of. No matter the past seasons that they've had, they are still behind us.

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