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Andino, Orioles not stopping to look back at last year's walk-off finale

As team faces Red Sox for first time since infielder's big hit, it says focus is on 2012

May 03, 2012|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

Having been around the Orioles since February, Hale said he has heard no talk about 2011. The focus since the beginning of spring training, he said, has been this season.

"It's the 2012 schedule; 2011 is gone," Hale said. "When you hear conversation in here, it's all about this year and where we're headed and what we are trying to sustain here."

The teams begin this weekend in unfamiliar roles. The Orioles (16-9) are one game behind the first-place Rays in the American League East; the Red Sox (11-13) are last in the division. The Orioles are 14-40 in their past six seasons playing at Fenway Park, but they did take three of four there last September.

"The Orioles have a good ballclub coming into Fenway Park, that's the new story," Duquette said. "The Orioles played well against the Red Sox at the end of last year, and we have an improved pitching staff, so hopefully we'll play well throughout the rest of the road trip."

A Dalton, Mass., native, Duquette spent eight seasons as general manager of the Red Sox before being dismissed as part of a regime change in 2002. He hadn't had a major league executive job since until the Orioles hired him, and now he will be returning to Fenway with a rival.

"It will be a new experience, right? I grew up around Boston, but things have changed," Duquette said. "My family is going to be at the ballpark. They spent many days at Fenway cheering for the Red Sox. So now they need to be cheering for the Orioles. We'll have about 10 [people there] each day, and they better be cheering for the Orioles."

Winners of eight of their past 10, the Orioles are seven games over .500 for the first time since 2005. They are coming off their first series win in Yankee Stadium since September 2010.

"We are going to find out what kind of ballclub we have over the next few weeks," Duquette said, "because we are playing the best teams in the league."

So getting better, competing with the big boys, proving that this start isn't a fluke — those are the important things to focus on this weekend in Boston.

And not what happened last September.

"In the big leagues, that was one of my best moments, but I don't live in the past," Andino said. "I really can't think about it no more."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danconnollysun

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