Camp Report: Quiroz Healthy, Ready for 2006

One of the eight catchers in camp this spring for the Blue Jays is the highly touted prospect, Guillermo Quiroz. The 24-year-old has suffered his share of injuries over the past two seasons, but his spirits remain high. One of the classiest players in camp talked with InsideTheDome about the acquisition of Bengie Molina, his 2005 season, the rough winter he had, and answered all the hard questions relating to his offensive performance and injury prone label.

Guillermo Quiroz stepped on the Dunedin field for the first time on Thursday, one day before the first full workouts of pitchers of catchers. Dunedin, Florida has become a regular stop for Quiroz, and not just in March. The catcher has spent significant time on the disabled list the last two seasons, rehab work in Florida has often been associated with the 24-year-old. Last season was no different for Quiroz, who missed more than half of the season.

"It really was a long and tough year for me," the young catcher said. "I missed three months of action, and when I came back I wasn't in the best of shape."

Despite his limited games with Syracuse, the Blue Jays called their young catcher to the major leagues in September, a move that Quiroz did not expect.

"The call-up to Toronto really shocked me. I just tried to do my best in difficult circumstances last season."

Quiroz tried to make up for the lost time with stints in the Arizona Fall League and Winter League. Quiroz mentioned he was not in the best of shape after he came off the disabled list during the middle of the 2005 season, but his time in Arizona helped him.

"I felt a little better playing in Arizona, but once I got home to Venezuela, I was real tired. I didn't have much of an off-season."

Quiroz said he is 100 percent healthy as spring training begins and declared himself to be in great baseball shape. However, the future for Quiroz as a Blue Jay is uncertain. The club signed Bengie Molina just two weeks ago, and as a result it droped Quiroz to third on the depth chart, behind Molina and Gregg Zaun. The Blue Jays signed Molina because of his receiving skills, his ability to work with pitchers, but also because they didn't view Zaun as a full-time player. Quiroz has no hard feelings, at least publicly, that the Jays signed Molina, and mentioned that it was a good signing.

"Bengie is a great player," Quiroz said from the spring training complex. "It's a very good thing for the team that they signed him. He has the experience you need from a catcher, even though Zaun played well for us last season."

But how does the signing impact Quiroz personally?

"I just have to play my hardest and do my best to have a good spring."

Quiroz said he has not talked with any member of the Blue Jays front office, nor his manager regarding his role, and neither has the club approached him.

"I haven't talked to anybody," Quiroz said quickly as to dismiss the situation. "I just arrived here yesterday."

The Venezuelan catcher was excited about the Jays chances of winning this season, even though he might not be with the organization when the season begins in April.

"It's going to be an interesting season," the catcher said. "The team acquired a lot of good players and we should be very competitive."

The catcher, who was once thought to be the future of the organization, realizes he has several things he needs to prove this spring and this season. Nobody will question his superb defensive skills, however, his critics will point to his rash of injuries and unproven bat.

"I know I haven't shown the power many people expected me to show. I did it back in Double-A with New Haven, but I was not able to put together back-to-back seasons because of the injuries. My offense is the one aspect of my game I really want to work on this spring."

When asked how he would answer the ‘injury prone' label being placed on him, Quiroz paused, and laughed.

"I really don't know how to respond. I have gotten hurt a lot in my career, and missed time because of the injuries, but 2006 is a different year."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\nGuillermo Quiroz stepped on the Dunedin field for the first time on Thursday, one day before the first full workouts of pitchers of catchers. Dunedin, Florida has become a regular stop for Quiroz, and not just in March. The catcher has spent significant time on the disabled list the last two seasons, rehab work in Florida has often been associated with the 24-year-old. Last season was no different for Quiroz, who missed more than half of the season.

\r\n\r\n\"It really was a long and tough year for me,\" the young catcher said. \"I missed three months of action, and when I came back I wasn't in the best of shape.\"

\r\n\r\n\r\nDespite his limited games with Syracuse, the Blue Jays called their young catcher to the major leagues in September, a move that Quiroz did not expect.

\r\n\r\n\r\n\"The call-up to Toronto really shocked me. I just tried to do my best in difficult circumstances last season.\"

\r\n\r\n\r\nQuiroz tried to make up for the lost time with stints in the Arizona Fall League and Winter League. Quiroz mentioned he was not in the best of shape after he came off the disabled list during the middle of the 2005 season, but his time in Arizona helped him.

\r\n\r\n\r\n\"I felt a little better playing in Arizona, but once I got home to Venezuela, I was real tired. I didn't have much of an off-season.\"

\r\n\r\n\r\nQuiroz said he is 100 percent healthy as spring training begins and declared himself to be in great baseball shape. However, the future for Quiroz as a Blue Jay is uncertain. The club signed Bengie Molina just two weeks ago, and as a result it droped Quiroz to third on the depth chart, behind Molina and Gregg Zaun. The Blue Jays signed Molina because of his receiving skills, his ability to work with pitchers, but also because they didn't view Zaun as a full-time player. Quiroz has no hard feelings, at least publicly, that the Jays signed Molina, and mentioned that it was a good signing.

\r\n\r\n\r\n\"Bengie is a great player,\" Quiroz said from the spring training complex. \"It's a very good thing for the team that they signed him. He has the experience you need from a catcher, even though Zaun played well for us last season.\"

\r\n\r\n\r\nBut how does the signing impact Quiroz personally?

\r\n\r\n\r\n\"I just have to play my hardest and do my best to have a good spring.\"

\r\n\r\n\r\nQuiroz said he has not talked with any member of the Blue Jays front office, nor his manager regarding his role, and neither has the club approached him.

\r\n\r\n\r\n\"I haven't talked to anybody,\" Quiroz said quickly as to dismiss the situation. \"I just arrived here yesterday.\"

\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Venezuelan catcher was excited about the Jays chances of winning this season, even though he might not be with the organization when the season begins in April.

\r\n\r\n\r\n\"It's going to be an interesting season,\" the catcher said. \"The team acquired a lot of good players and we should be very competitive.\"

\r\n\r\n\r\nThe catcher, who was once thought to be the future of the organization, realizes he has several things he needs to prove this spring and this season. Nobody will question his superb defensive skills, however, his critics will point to his rash of injuries and unproven bat.

\r\n\r\n\r\n\"I know I haven't shown the power many people expected me to show. I did it back in Double-A with New Haven, but I was not able to put together back-to-back seasons because of the injuries. My offense is the one aspect of my game I really want to work on this spring.\"

\r\n\r\n\r\nWhen asked how he would answer the ‘injury prone' label being placed on him, Quiroz paused, and laughed.

\r\n\r\n\r\n\"I really don't know how to respond. I have gotten hurt a lot in my career, and missed time because of the injuries, but 2006 is a different year.\"

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