"It's always good to get the call. It was a little surprising to get it this early, but I know they've had some injuries." Jon Knott told Inside The Warehouse. "Sam [Perlozzo] called me. He told me he didn't know [what my exact role would be] and he didn't know how long I'd be up, but to be ready to contribute whenever I got in there."
Knott, who led the Pacific Coast League with 113 RBI's in 2006, was one of the last cuts in spring training. After hitting .331/.405/.646 against left-handed pitchers in 2006, many felt the 28 year old was ready to help the Orioles exceed their middling .258/.324/.402 batting line against southpaws.
"They told me that I had a good spring and that they felt that I would get up here at some point and be able to help out the team and contribute, but it looked like they needed to carry an extra pitcher at the beginning of the season to help out," Knott explained. "As far as me getting ready, they told me to make sure I was ready to play left, right, and first."
Off to a 3 for 4 start, including one homerun, Knott may even stick around for a while. Of course, that could change when Jay Payton is activated off of the disabled list.
"I know that he was rehabbing in Norfolk, so I'm sure he's just about ready."
Certainly, there are happier things for the minor league veteran to focus on right now. For instance, he is enjoying the newfound camaraderie in the Baltimore locker room.
"[My teammates] are great. I got to know everyone pretty well in the spring. Since I was up there for so long, it wasn't like I was coming into a brand new team."
"I would say that I know the outfielders better than anyone else, just because we were all working out together during the spring, but it's a great group of guys and I've gotten along with everyone so far."
As a former undrafted free agent, Jon Knott has had to prove himself at every level. In fact, he has the dubious distinction of having 1,443 at bats at the triple-A level. With a career batting line of .274/.354/.528 at the highest rung of the minor leagues, Knott has become somewhat of an expert on minor league ballparks.
"I only played two games [at Harbor Park] and it was cold both days," Knott said of the Baltimore's newest affiliate. "Most hitters would tell you it's tough to hit in the cold, no matter where it is. We had some good fans there the first two nights, so hopefully it will be a good place for the triple-A team."
Of course, no one can blame him for not wanting to go back.
"Obviously, I'd love to be up here contributing at the big league level. Other than that, I just want to have some consistent at bats and not give away anything at the plate."
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com