John Gibbons on the first workout day

On Morrow’s bullpen…
It’s just good to see him out there, it’s been awhile. The thing I’m most impressed with, you look at him, he has put on a lot of weight, muscle. He looks strong, he looks like you’re supposed to look and last year he didn’t look like that. He looks like a good strong, durable starting pitcher. The fact that he’s out there and feels good, is big for us.

On performance of SP last April/May…
Today is the last day I’m going to talk about last year, but last year we didn’t play very well in any phase of the game early on. We didn’t play very good defense, hitting was sporadic and we struggled in the rotation. That leads to how we started the season. But these guys have a lot of pride, expect most of them to bounce back. We had some real good performances on the year, at the end of it, with Dickey, Buehrle, some of those guys. Rasmus, Eddie, some really good years but as a team it was a struggle. We have to go about our business and answer some questions.

On SP depth chart…
We have a good idea. We have some good depth now. Drabek’s back, Hutch is back, we feel good about that. Stroman is on the move. Sanchez, we think will come quick. We have some options whereas last year we didn’t have that many. Hopefully you don’t need that many but the reality of the game is you might. The depth is definitely better, whoever wins that last spot, we’ll see, but it’ll be a nice little competition. McGowan’s in the mix now, we’re going to try and stretch him out and see how that works. We like the way it looks, we really do, but we still have to go out and do it.

Balancing act of innings with so many starters in the mix…
Oh yeah, there’s a limited number of innings that you get. So some guys will have to go throw in the Minor Leagues just to keep them all working. But you have in your mind, who can do what, your own depth chart. So some guys are ahead of the others but you get some guys come out of nowhere and pitch really well. We’re looking for that fifth guy, that’s how careers are made.

Whether Rogers/Redmond, guys on fringe, could also make bullpen…
Both of those guys are out of options, we like both of them and they both did a good job for us last year. I didn’t mention those guys earlier but they’re at the top of that.

Back-up C to be filled by guy who can best catch Dickey…
We’ll look at the total package. That’s a big part of it, Kratz caught him today. He went and visited him over the winter. He spent a week familiarizing himself with him but it’s not an easy thing to do. He handcuffed him a few times today, that’s to be expected. We’ll see how it all plays out. We like them both but a big part of it is handling Dickey.

Navarro won’t catch Dickey then…
We’re not sure how that’s going to play out yet, but probably not.

Confident team can be what it was supposed to be last year…
We said all last year, we like this ballclub. We still do. It was put together for a reason, to win. Last year didn’t end the way we wanted it to, not even close. But we still like it as a group. Keep them all on the field. Lawrie, Reyes, Eddie, Bautista, hopefully Cabrera bounces back, Colby if he has another good year, there are some pretty good players and we like them. The big question was what were we going to do with the rotation and nothing has happened there but the way it is stacking up right now, we really like the depth that we have and we have some guys to choose from.

Something to be said for a quieter Spring Training…
I don’t know. I kind of like the attention, I think everybody likes the excitement. That’s part of it. The only way you’re going to change minds is to go out and play better baseball and prove what we thought going into last year was true. If we don’t play well, maybe we’re not that good, but we think we are.

Last year’s supposed relaxed Spring Training…
I think that got a little twisted. Nobody is really on their own program, they all go through the same thing, the same stations. But we have to keep an eye on Buehrle, Buehrle’s not a young kid, he has been very durable but maybe he doesn’t need to run 100 times to cover first base, he might only need 50. But there’s no question some things surfaced during the year that fundamentally we weren’t very good. But as far as, did that all happen from camp? No, I’m not buying that and I never will. I put together the camp. But the bottom line is you have to perform on the field. My big belief still is that we didn’t have all the guys together during camp and that hurt our start. I think it’s a big part of it, when you inject so many new guys into a ballclub. It not only happened in our sport, but other sports you see it all the time. But until we prove that wrong, a lot of people don’t buy that. But today’s a perfect example, you have four fields, we have 20 pitchers doing (same thing), they’re getting a lot of work, getting a lot of reps. I think everyone is wondering what went wrong and that jumped out at a lot of people.

AL East…
It’s good. I still think it’s the strongest division in baseball but there are a lot of good ones out there. My first go around here, the Yankees and Red Sox had a little bit different look, the types of team they had. But they’re still very strong and the Red Sox winning it all is a perfect example of that. Of course, the Yankees, I thought they did a tremendous job with what they had last year but you knew they weren’t going to sit still, that’s just who they are. They went out and got those guys. To compete in this division you have to keep up with that and you can’t go on the cheap end of it, you have to go for it. Tampa, I think realized it was going to be that much tougher without Price. That only makes them that much stronger.

Strong impressions on Day 1…
It was good seeing Drabek. I thought Drabek threw good, Hutchison too, both of those guys bouncing back from Tommy John. It was nice looking at Sanchez, he has a dynamite arm, probably our top prospect. Morrow, the fact that Morrow was out there and looked good. You almost don’t recognize him when you look at the bodytype. It was good to see Kratz try and catch Dickey a little bit. But they all looked good, they usually do unless they’re hurt when they step on the mound.

Out of options factoring in…
We have a few guys. That always factors in but you still want to, we’re looking for starting pitching, we want to go with the best guy. If that costs somebody a job, we’re still going with the best guy.

Navarro…
We saw him in the past when he was with Tampa, he has always been a good solid player. Good hands. How many games he can catch, we don’t know yet. But he always swings the bat, from both sides of the plate, he had a good year there last year. We think he’s going to help us. Durability that’s the big question mark because he has been in that back-up role but that will all play out. I know he wants that job, he wants to be a regular. Here’s his chance.

Fresh start doing Arencibia some good in Texas…
Yeah, I do and I’m pulling for him. A lot of guys are rooting for him. He was a part of our team last year and he was the whipping boy. Some things came up and he fought this, fought that, and he brought a lot of that on himself. But he’s a better player than he showed last year and I think if he makes some adjustments I think he’s going to have a very good Major League career. He’s going to another good hitting ballpark. We preached all the time, you saw what he did the first month, he went gap to gap, using center right, right center, he hit his home runs and had his best month. If you do that in Texas, that right-center field, you get that jet stream, shoot, he’ll do really well down there. He’s going in there as a back-up but I’m a really big fan.

Last year start snowballing on Arencibia…
When a team struggles, you’re always looking for reasons why. He had a tough year, from what we expected from him, especially after the start he had. He’s a vocal guy, he’s a stand-up guy and he played that social media, that can backfire on you. But he’s a stand-up guy, he came to play everyday, he played banged up, he didn’t run from anything and to be honest with you, those guys are rare.

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