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Do the Orioles have enough candidates for the bullpen?

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Do the Orioles have enough candidates for the bullpen?

One of the more interesting subplots of next year’s spring training will be the jockeying for the final spots in the bullpen.

Assuming Darren O’Day doesn’t return, and Brian Matusz does, it seems that four of the seven spots are accounted for.

Matusz, Brad Brach, Zach Britton and Mychal Givens would be on the team, and while the Orioles are likely to pick up a few more relievers in the off-season, there are a number of pitchers currently on hand who will be part of the Sarasota conversation.

One who probably won’t be is Jason Garcia, last year’s Rule 5 choice, who is likely to pitch for Bowie or Norfolk next season. But, if he has a strong spring or a good start in his first stint in the high minors, he could be part of the staff.

T.J. McFarland could be a dark horse for the fifth starter’s job, and should be on the team as a needed left-handed long man.

Vance Worley, who was acquired on waivers from Pittsburgh last month, could be a candidate to either start or relieve. Worley is also a possibility to be non-tendered.

Worley made $2.45 million for the Pirates last year, and was 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA, so the Orioles might not be eager to pay him $3 million next year.

Mike Wright has a real chance to be in the bullpen. While he started in the minor leagues and had early success for the Orioles in 2015, the team thinks his real future is probably in the bullpen. He could take over Tommy Hunter’s old spot.

Tyler Wilson could wind up in the bullpen, too. He’s an option as fifth starter—especially if the Orioles don’t sign someone with a longer resume. He could start the season in the bullpen, or back in Norfolk until a need for him arises.

As for pure relievers, the Orioles will look at Oliver Drake and Chaz Roe, who they saw for the first time last year. While Drake, who finally made his major league debut after eight years in the organization, had some good stats (2.87 ERA in 13 games), he also had some bad ones (1.596 WHIP).

When Roe’s contract was purchased in late May, it seemed farfetched that he’d stay around the rest of the season. But, he did. While slowed by injuries, Roe pitched in 36 games and had an ERA under 1 in his first 15 games.

He missed nearly a month with shoulder tendinitis and was held out of the last 10 games.

Roe ended up pitching more games than anyone but Brach, Britton, Hunter, Matusz and O’Day, and it will be fascinating to see if he can recapture his early magic. His second half was troubling.

Steve Johnson remains on the 40-man roster, and three pitchers who Dan Duquette thinks could be contributors later in the season were placed on the roster last week.

Parker Bridwell, Christopher Lee and Andrew Triggs have never pitched above Double-A in the Orioles system, but Lee and Triggs in particular have impressive minor league numbers. Triggs pitched in one Triple-A game for Omaha in 2014. Left-hander Chris Jones, who has pitched at Norfolk the last three seasons, has also been added to the 40-man roster.

The Orioles will have at least four pitchers with minor league contracts in spring training. This week, Pedro Beato, Cesar Cabral, Todd Redmond and Ashur Tolliver received formal invitations. All but Tolliver have major league experience. Tolliver has some good numbers at Bowie, but like Lee and Triggs has no real experience above Double-A.

It’s also possible Dylan Bundy, if healthy, could find himself in the bullpen. Bundy is out of options, and if he’s able to pitch, will likely work out of the bullpen as he tries to build up innings.

Because of Bundy’s situation, it may be hard to carry a Rule 5 pitcher has they did with McFarland in 2013 and Garcia this year, but it’s certainly possible they’ll try to draft another one in the Dec. 10 Rule 5 draft.  

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Orioles Roundup: Nunez impresses in loss to Yankees

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Orioles Roundup: Nunez impresses in loss to Yankees

The Orioles lost a nailbiter before falling to the Yankees 6-5 Thursday night.

Here is your latest news on Baltimore and New York:

Player Notes:

ORIOLES:

Dylan Bundy surrendered three runs in 5 2/3 innings Thursday in a no-decision against the Yankees. The bullpen was unable to manage after Bundy pitched a fair performance.

Renato Nunez went 2-for-3 and hit a three-run homer against the Yankees on Thursday. Nunez has improved mighily in year number two with the O's.

YANKEES:

Masahiro Tanaka held the Orioles to one run through six innings in his start Thursday.

Luke Voit homered and doubled Thursday as the Yankees slipped by the Orioles 6-5.

Injuries: 

SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-Day IL

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-Day IL

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-Day IL

Coming Up:

Friday 5/24: Orioles at Rockies, 8:40 p.m., Coors Field
Saturday 5/25: Orioles at Rockies, 9:10 p.m., Coors Field

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Orioles Roundup: O's acquire Keon Broxton from Mets

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Orioles Roundup: O's acquire Keon Broxton from Mets

The Orioles made a flurry of moves before falling to the Yankees 7-5 Wednesday night.

Here is your latest news on Baltimore and New York:

Player Notes:

ORIOLES:

Baltimore acquired OF Keon Broxton from the Mets for international signing bonus slots. Broxton hit .143 in 34 games with New York this season before he was designated for assignment last week. The Orioles designated RHP Yefry Rodriguez for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Broxton. 

The Orioles transferred RHP Alex Cobb from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL, meaning he won't be back until late June at the earliest. Cobb has been out since April 27 with a lumbar strain. Baltimore also claimed RHP Chandler Shepherd off waivers for the Cubs and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. 

YANKEES:

Giancarlo Stanton has been pulled away from his rehab assignment with High-A Tampa and placed back on the 10-day injured list with left calf tightness. Per manager Aaron Boone, Stanton will be shut down for the next 7-10 days. 

Boone also told reporters Zach Britton was unavailable for Wednesday's game against his former team, and CC Sabathia could miss his next start due to knee trouble. 

Injuries: 

SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-Day IL

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-Day IL

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-Day IL

Coming Up:

Thursday 5/23: Orioles vs. Yankees, 12:35 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Friday 5/24: Orioles at Rockies, 8:40 p.m., Coors Field
Saturday 5/25: Orioles at Rockies, 9:10 p.m., Coors Field