Scott says slot him wherever, but keep him in Baltimore
Luke Scott made something clear again Saturday at FanFest.
He’ll play left field or designated hitter or first base or wherever manager Buck Showalter wants him in 2011. But he wants to play for the Orioles this season -- and well into the future.
“My personal desire is I want to be here, in Baltimore, when this team turns around and starts contending,” Scott said Saturday. “I would be all for signing a long-term deal, absolutely. It is something I have worked hard for for my entire career, and it is a goal of mine. But it is out of my hands.”
Scott, 32, is arbitration-eligible, and his case has not yet been settled. He is scheduled for a hearing Feb. 14, when a three-person board of arbitrators will decide whether to award him $6.85 million (his filing) or $5.7 million (the Orioles’ filing).
Scott, who is coming off his best season after hitting .284 with 27 homers and 72 RBIs and earning the Most Valuable Oriole Award, can become a free agent after the 2012 season. His representation has spoken to the Orioles about a contract extension.
“We brought it up. They are just not ready to go there,” Scott said. “It’s their decision.”
With his sunny attitude and strong work ethic, Scott has made himself a fan favorite in his three seasons in Baltimore. But he rankled some this offseason when he spoke his mind about politics -- and specifically President Barack Obama -- while at the winter meetings in Florida.
He criticized both the president’s performance and his origin of birth.
Saturday was the first time he appeared before Orioles’ fans since making those comments. And he said there was no backlash at the event.
“All was good. It was all positive. We all have our constitutional rights, and I have always been one to express how I feel. I try to do it in a way that is respectful,” Scott said. “Sometimes people say things that step on my toes, but I respect what they say because that is their right. It’s their right to think that way, ‘OK, that’s fine.’ For me it is the same way. I have my right to think and believe the way I want. We do not live in a Communist America. At least not yet.”
As for the possibility of the Orioles potentially signing Vladimir Guerrero, who would push Scott into left field and perhaps further down in the lineup, Scott said he is on board.
“We’ll see what happens. I feel I should be in the middle of the order somewhere, but that’s going to be Buck’s decision, what he decides to do with me,” Scott said. “As long as I get my at-bats, I’ll play wherever they want me to play and I’ll do whatever they want me to do.”
Regardless, he said he is excited about 2011 at Camden Yards.
“We proved to ourselves first and then to the rest of baseball that we are very capable of competing with the team we had last year,” Scott said. “And now we have added pieces that have kind of bolstered up our team. Things are definitely looking positive.”
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