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New GM Duquette vows to make Orioles a contender

By Steve Ginsburg

"When you don't have the resources that the top two clubs have, you have to work harder and you have to be smarter," he told a news conference at Oriole Park Camden Yards.

"We're going to do everything in our power to give you a competitive team that you can be proud of, that can compete with the behemoths in the American League East."

The 53-year-old Duquette spent 10 seasons as a general manager with the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox but has been out of Major League Baseball since 2002.

Since leaving the game, Duquette built a sports facility for children, purchased a club in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and helped create the Israel Baseball League.

"It's true that I haven't been with a major league team for a period of time," he said. "But baseball is really in my DNA. I've been in baseball for 25 years. I've kept my skills sharp.

"My focus is going to be sharper and better from my time away from the game. I've had an opportunity to look at running a ball club from not being in the seat of the general manager.

"That has given been some insights that will be very helpful."

HOME GROWN

He said his work in small-market Montreal will help him in Baltimore, stressing that home-grown talent is more important than signing free agents.

"Irrespective of your market size, it all starts with signing good players and bringing them up to your team," said Duquette, who replaces Andy MacPhail. "The best players are going to have to come through our farm system."

Duquette said the Orioles, who finished last in the American League East in 2011 with a 69-93 record, will have to be rebuilt "from the ground up."

The Orioles' pitching faltered badly this season and Duquette said that was the key area to retool to satisfy Orioles fans who "are hungry for a competitive team."

"This challenge is the kind that I look for and that I successfully met in the two places I've been, in Montreal and Boston," said Duquette.

"I took over teams that were below .500 and I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe I could have an impact and turn this franchise around -- to get it to be competitive and get it to a championship level. I'm a builder."

(Editing by Larry Fine)