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Plenty of candidates for final Orioles bullpen spot


Plenty of candidates for final Orioles bullpen spot

The Orioles hope that Dylan Bundy is healthy enough to make their Opening Day roster. If he is, he’ll be in the bullpen, and assuming no trades or injuries, six of the seven bullpen spots will be accounted for.

Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Mychal Givens, Brian Matusz and Darren O’Day are the others. Of those, only Givens has options remaining, and he may prove too valuable to be sent down to the minors. But, if there’s a roster crunch, he could be optioned—even for only the 10-day minimum.

Who has the best chance to be other pitcher in the bullpen?

For now, the favorite would seem to be T.J. McFarland. He has another option remaining, and he’s a left-handed long man. That’s very important to manager Buck Showalter because for the moment all his starters are right-handed.

None of the others in the bullpen project as a long man though Brach has shown himself to be capable of throwing two or three innings if needed.

Vance Worley is another possibility. Worley, who was a no-show at last week’s minicamp, could compete to be the fifth starter, too. He fits into the bounceback category, and has experience both starting and relieving in the majors.

If the Orioles want a combo man, Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright are possibilities, too. Wilson is seen as a starter, Wright may now fit the reliever profile, but both are likely to see time in both Baltimore and Norfolk. Wilson is also a long shot for the fifth starter role.

If Bundy has to start the season on the disabled list, Wright is a possibility to make the club, and so is Chaz Roe, who had a great two months when his contract was purchased from Norfolk. Roe faltered in the second half of the season, and needs a big spring to stay in the big leagues. He has no options remaining.

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The Orioles added four minor league pitchers to the 40-man roster late last year: Parker Bridwell, Chris Jones, Christopher Lee and Andrew Triggs. None of them are real possibilities to start the season by running down the Orange Carpet, but all could be in the big leagues during 2016. The Orioles are especially high on Triggs.

Jason Garcia remains on the 40-man roster, but he’s likely to begin the season at Bowie as a starter. Last year’s Rule 5 pick needs more experience.

Oliver Drake had some big moments in his first few big league appearances, but like Roe needs a big spring to show the Orioles he’s made some progress.

C.J. Riefenhauser was at the Sarasota minicamp, and he’s a left-hander, which is always valuable, and he has options, which can be even more valuable. While he probably won’t start the season with the Orioles, he’s likely to spend time with them this season. Riefenhauser, who has big league experience with Tampa Bay, was acquired along with Mark Trumbo from Seattle.

There will be some non-roster pitchers on hand Feb. 18 when camp opens. The Orioles haven’t released the list of spring training invitees, but one interesting name is Jeff Beliveau.

He was signed last month though the deal was never officially announced, Beliveau, who had labrum surgery on his left shoulder last April, and thinks he’ll be ready to pitch this spring. He threw some at minicamp, and his major league experience with the Cubs and Rays will help.

Pedro Beato is another minor league signee who will be in spring training. Beato is in his second stint in the Orioles organization though he has never pitched with the big league team. He has major league experience, but is likely to pitch in Norfolk for a second straight year.

The Orioles have also invited longtime farmhand Ashur Tolliver to spring training. Tolliver has been in the organization since 2009, but has never pitched above Double-A.

Tolliver will probably start out in Norfolk, but the Orioles have definite interest in him. The left-hander was on display at minicamp, and he could find his way into the big leagues sometime in 2016.

NOTES: Zack Dodson, a pitcher on Bowie’s roster, has been suspended 100 games for his third positive test for a drug of abuse. Dodson was signed as a minor league free agent in November. He had been in the Pittsburgh organization.

-According to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Orioles re-signed minor league pitchers Andy Oliver and Cody Wheeler as well as infielder Sharlon Schoop, Jonathan’s brother. They also signed infielder Alex Liddi, first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez and pitcher Greg Ross. Liddi played 61 games for Seattle from 2011-13.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles draft pick still thinking about two sports while in NBA

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm