OAKLAND -- New A's pitcher Jeff Samardzija, just acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, briefly spoke to the media during Saturday's game with the Toronto Blue Jays. Here is the transcript:
(his reaction to the trade)
"It wasn't a surprise, understanding all the talk there's been during the offseason and the first half of the season. Oakland, obviously, was a pleasant surprise. There's been so much talk about Toronto and a handful of other teams, but Oakland kept it pretty close to the chest. All of a sudden, they strike and I get a word that they were seriously in play, and I was ecstatic.
I'm a big of the Bay Area, having played at Stanford a couple of times. Obviously, I'm coming to a team in a good situation that's done plenty fine without me. I'm just looking to do my part, and hopefully I add to the depth of the pitching staff. There's still a lot of the season to be played, so there's a lot of work to be done."
(in a fog going from lovable losers to team WITH baseball's BEST RECORD?)
"I'm right where I need to be, man. I'm excited. I've been begging for this for awhile, not team-wise but situation-wise, being in a situation where you come in excited to win games with the guys you're playing with, being more worried about that game than who's going to be here in the future. I can't wait to get out there and pitch."
(did you know Jason Hammel was involved?)
"I really didn't. He was about four rooms down from me in DC. Once I found out, I texted him and was really excited. I knew there was a chance a couple guys might come with me, but he really wasn't one of them. I thought it would be a second baseman or a relief pitcher. He's an outstanding guy who comes to work ever day, and people should be excited that he's here, too."
(did you know anybody on the team?)
"No, I know Josh a little bit before he got traded over here, but just very shortly. So no, which I'm excited about. I've become pretty good at meeting new players.
(is there a football mentality in baseball?)
"It's a little different. I've been battling my whole baseball career and trying to keep it subdued for the most part. The last couple of years as a starter, I've really gotten into a good routine and learned myself and what I need to do. I'm hoping I can bring some excitement to the team. You don't want to be a distraction, you want to be an addition, and my main goal is to come in and make a seamless transition and be part of this team."
(ABOUT jumping right in Sunday to start)
"It wasn't even a question. Billy asked me how I felt. I was supposed to pitch today, so I'm a day past my due date to pitch, so I'm chomping at the bit to get out there. I don't think there's any better way to get acclimated with your teammates than get out there and do it on the mound."
For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Inside the A's blog at ibabuzz.com/athletics.