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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Perlozzo excited about 2007

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Sam Perlozzo isn't making any promises. Yes, Baltimore's manager knows his team has a long way to go and knows it plays in a tough division. Still, Perlozzo chose to accentuate the positives on Tuesday, when he met the assembled media for a subdued briefing at baseball's Winter Meetings.
Perlozzo had the good fortune to have his interview scheduled at the same time as Tony La Russa -- the manager of the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals -- which meant he knew virtually everyone at his table. Unburdened by random questions about the state of the league, Perlozzo got to talk almost exclusively about his team.

"Just like anybody -- any of us -- you learn a little bit," he said of his first full season as manager. "I'm probably a little more sure of what I want to do and how I want to go about some things. I think we'll just try to get done the things that need to be done and not fool around with it [by] trying to make everybody happy.

"The only thing that's going to make us more happy is more wins, and that's what we'll try to do."

The Orioles haven't had a winning record since 1997, and Perlozzo has racked up a 93-124 record as field boss. Part of that record is due to the competition in the top-heavy American League East, but Perlozzo doesn't want to make excuses. The record is what it is, and in his mind, it was a fair representation of his team's talent level.

"I thought we had a lot of things go against us," he said. "We had a lot of injuries and we were short on some talent levels. We didn't have as much depth. We started the season without a true lefty, per se. I think we did a lot of looking at a lot of our talent sooner than we should've, and I think that showed up in the win-loss column."

Perlozzo has two years remaining on his contract, and he's slowly ratcheting up the intensity level. He said the Orioles shouldn't be expected to win the pennant, but they shouldn't be counted out either. Perlozzo wants his team to aim for steady improvement, and a break-even record would probably count as a major sign of progress.

There's no sense of urgency or desperation -- just a much-needed dose of optimism provided by the team's early offseason moves. Baltimore has spent more than $40 million on its bullpen and plans on adding a power bat by the end of the winter. Perlozzo sees those moves as just the beginning in the team's charge back to respectability.
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