Q&A with O's manager Trembley

Orioles skipper says its 'it's time to step up'

February 27, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec | jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun reporter

With a new spring training facility and a more talented roster, Orioles manager Dave Trembley has been all smiles for the first two weeks of spring training.

Approaching his third full season at the helm of the club, Trembley sat down with The Sun on Thursday and spoke candidly about dealing with the difficulty of the 2009 season and the speculation that he would be dismissed, his vow to be tougher on his players and his early impressions of this year's club.

Question: We're talking essentially about bullpen sessions, batting practice and other basic drills, but can you talk about a couple of guys who have stood out in the first two weeks of camp?

Answer: I wanted to see what [Kam] Mickolio was going to look like, and he's been nothing short of impressive. I wanted to see [ Adam] Jones, [ Felix] Pie, [Nolan] Reimold, [Dennis] Sarfate, the guys who weren't healthy at the end of the season. They've all passed every test with flying colors, so we're very enthused about that. Adding [ Miguel] Tejada to the ballclub is an immeasurable [acquisition]. We did base-running drills this morning, and he was the first guy in every drill. The guy has been bouncing around from field to field with a smile on his face. [ Nick] Markakis looks like he has added strength. I see a demeanor that is very serious. He's going to have a big year.

Q: When president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail announced that you would return in 2010, he said you will be judged on wins and losses and the onus is on him to get you better players. Do you feel that has been accomplished and you have enough talent to make a significant improvement on last year's won-lost record?

A: Obviously, certain things need to happen. No. 1, we have to have a good spring, leave here healthy and continue the growth and development of our young players. The nucleus is in place to turn the corner. We needed to add guys on the corner, and Andy went out and did that. I'm fully confident that [Garrett] Atkins and Tejada will be offensive threats and will produce. We needed a legitimate No. 1 starter and Andy went out and got him in [Kevin] Millwood, and we needed a guy at the end of the game and he went out and got [Mike] Gonzalez. We don't need to be the best team in everyone's eyes. All we have to do is do the very best we can to grow as a club. I understand the other side of the coin. I think it's realistic and honest that we all should be held accountable for the wins and the losses.

Q: Looking back on last year, how difficult was it for you, personally, as the loss total mounted and the speculation about your job being in danger increased?

A: You learn from it. You understand very clearly what the job entails. If you let it, it can take its toll on you physically and mentally, and it probably did a little bit of both on my end. You can allow it to consume you, and you can go the other direction. You can try to handle it the best you can with class and dignity and not let the players see it. I went home this winter and knew that I had to do some things personally to be able to weather that a lot more. I think that's why we tried to get ourselves in a little bit better shape physically, and I also think you try to be more honest with yourself, look at the entire picture and look at what you can do to make it better.

Q: You talked late last year about maybe being a little tougher on the players and "dropping the hammer" for the coming season. What did you mean by that?

A: I don't think it's a thing where you're a yeller or a screamer. I don't think you get in people's faces. You just become more honest. You point things out a little bit quicker and put an emphasis on things that definitely were glaring weaknesses. You ask people for their help, but I think you try to put people in situations where this is the way things are going to be done, and you're not in a situation where you're going to compromise so much. I'm not so worried anymore about hurting people's feelings. ... I've seen what the players go through, and I know what I put myself through. I don't want to go back to that again. That's why maybe it is a little tougher, a little more demanding. I told the team, "I will ask you to do some things in spring training that maybe you feel, 'Why am I doing this? Why am I doing that?' It might not be a whole lot of fun, but the fun will come after, when those things that I'm asking you to do will lend itself to us winning and being a better ballclub. That's really what I meant by saying I want to be a little tougher.

Q: Does that mean you may be more likely to bench a player for not running a ball out or making a base-running gaffe?

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