It took a while for Steve Pearce to come down from his 2012 season.
For him it was: “step it up, your adrenaline level, go to a new team, step up again,”
Pearce had an exhausting season. After trying to make it with Pittsburgh for five years, Pearce was let go by the Pirates after the 2011 season and signed with Minnesota.
He was with the Twins for much of last year’s spring training, but was cut in late March. Two days later, the Yankees signed him and in early June, was sent to the Orioles.
The Orioles lost him on waivers after 28 games, and then he spent a month with Houston and another month with the Yankees before the Orioles picked him up for the last few days of the season.
“This off-season was a long recovery,” Pearce said.
To top it off, Pearce’s wife had a baby, delaying his reporting to the Orioles in September.
In December, the Orioles took him off the 40-man roster, but that didn’t deter Pearce. He didn’t really consider signing anywhere else.
“This is the place I wanted to be,” Pearce said. “I wasn’t thinking about being claimed by anyone else, and this is where I wanted to be.”
Pearce faces huge odds to claim a starting outfielder’s job even in Triple-A, let alone making the Orioles.
Xavier Avery, L.J. Hoes, Lew Ford, Conor Jackson, Jason Pridie and Trayvon Robinson all will try to make an impression on the Orioles, but none may break camp with the team. They may all fight for playing time at Norfolk.
“I’ve never come to spring training with a job — ever. I’ve always had to earn it and prove myself all over again. It’s nothing new to me,” Pearce said.