On playing for the Rays instead of facing them: “It’s going to be a joy. Not having to face that pitching staff is going to be a relief. They have tremendous arms in their rotation and in their bullpen, and I know every day we faced the Rays when I was with Baltimore, you really had to bear down and not miss their mistakes -- if you got one on that day. It was very tough to make a living against that pitching staff.”
On his recovery from from his shoulder injury: “I’ve got full range of motion. My strength is really coming back very quickly. I’m a little bit ahead of schedule. I’ve still got to maintain my exercises and do what’s on the program and not get too far ahead of myself. I feel great. I’m out here in Oklahoma right now training with my physical therapist. … I don’t see why I shouldn’t be ready for Opening Day.
On his low batting average at Tropicana Field (.202 in 30 games): “I would say a lot of it has to do with that pitching staff. They are very stingy. It’s been slim pickings. You come into the Trop as a visiting player on their home turf, and they’re really tough. It’s hard to make a living when they’re not giving you much to hit.”
On whether he will be a full-time DH: “It’s my understanding because of my shoulder, as far as outfield play, I won’t be ready until May or June to play outfield. I have experience in the corner outfield positions. I’ve got experience at first base, and I’ve got experience at DH as well. Joe Maddon makes the lineup, and whatever he needs me to do, I’m going to do it the best I can. Defense is something I take pride in.”
On his first at-bat back in Camden Yards, which could be May 11: “There will be some emotion, but after that, it will wear off and I’ll do whatever it takes to help my team win.”