Baltimore manager Dave Trembley was cagey when asked about his pitching staff on Tuesday, preferring to wait another day to see how things shake out. Trembley said that Jason Berken would be available as a reliever, and another team source said that if the rookie isn’t needed in that capacity that he’d likely return to his rotation slot on Friday.
Things weren’t so certain on Monday, when southpaw Chris Waters was seen lurking in the wings at Comerica Park. Waters was on hand in case the Orioles needed an emergency option, but after a low-stress night for the bullpen, the left-hander was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk. Now, if Berken isn’t needed on Tuesday, he likely take the ball again Friday.
The Orioles played things close to the vest on Monday, when they declined to officially explain the presence of two southpaw pitchers. Brian Matusz, who is expected to make his big-league debut on Tuesday, worked out at Comerica Park on Monday.
Baltimore also got a guest-starring appearance from Chris Waters, who worked out with the team before the clubhouse was opened to the media. Waters may or may not join the team as a reliever on Tuesday, and he could also be a candidate to start on Friday.
“I think it depends on what happens tonight,” said manager Dave Trembley. “We need to see what our needs are after tonight’s game. Is that honest and up front?”
Trembley has said that starter Jason Berken’s role is being re-evaluated, and the youngster could be used in relief over the next couple days. In that case, Waters would likely take his slot on Friday, which would necessitate another roster move by the Orioles.
The Orioles trimmed their spring roster to 39 players Wednesday by reassigning five players to the Minor League in Sarasota and optioning three others to Triple-A Norfolk.
Injured veterans Brad Hennessey and John Parrish headlined the group heading to Sarasota, and they were joined by infielders Justin Turner and Donnie Murphy and outfielder Justin Christian. Kam Mickolio, Chris Waters and Bob McCrory were sent out to Norfolk.
The Orioles have shared their pitching rotation for the first few days of spring, providing a glimpse into their plans for the first few games. Baltimore will have several top-flight prospects lined up to pitch against Team Italy on Tuesday, an exhibition game before the Spring Training slate begins. Brian Matusz will start that game, and the Orioles will also allow Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman to show their wares against the Italian national team.
Right-hander Brad Hennessey will start the true Spring opener against the Mets on Wednesday, and the Orioles will also throw Chris Waters, David Pauley, Brian Bass and Jim Miller in that game. Hennessey, Pauley and Waters are battling for a rotation spot.
The starter for Thursday’s game against the Marlins is as yet uncertain, but Baltimore will throw Danys Baez, Matt Albers, Chris Ray and Bob McCrory in that game. Things get more exciting on Friday, when Koji Uehara will make his stateside debut against the Marlins.