BALTIMORE (AP) — There might come a time in the next few weeks when the Baltimore Orioles finally add a proven veteran to their stunningly thin starting rotation.
“There are some pitchers available, and I’m confident we’ll be able to sign some between now and when we open (the regular season),” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said recently.
Until then, manager Buck Showalter can only hope to find some quality arms among a massive array of hurlers ready to show their stuff at spring training in Sarasota, Florida.
“We’ve got 35 pitchers coming to camp, more than any in the history of the Orioles,” Showalter noted. “We’re staying focused on the people who are here right now, trying to see if certain people can go to another level. We’ve got plenty of resources to do more than compete.”
That’s the company line, although it’s hard to perceive the Orioles as a contender in the AL East coming off a last-place finish and with a rotation that currently lists only Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.
Having disposed of ineffective starters Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley and Chris Tillman, Baltimore is holding an open tryout this spring for pitchers capable of going every fifth day.
“If we can add and build our starting rotation, we should have another good ball club,” said Duquette, who remains confident the Orioles can bounce back from their first losing season since 2011.
Unfortunately, there are other areas of concern. Closer Zach Britton tore his right Achilles tendon during the offseason, leaving the back end of the bullpen in need of a makeover.
In addition, three-time All-Star Manny Machado begins the final season of his contract at a new position: shortstop. Machado moves from third base to the middle of the infield, replacing Tim Beckham, who shifts to third.
“There could be some adjustments in spring if we don’t like the feel of it,” Showalter said.
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