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March 24, 2011

Showalter reveals most of rotation; cuts; Orioles exchange Rule 5 picks

Orioles manager Buck Showalter held court for about 12 minutes, answering some lingering questions about the Opening Day roster.

As expected, Showalter said that Jeremy Guthrie will pitch the opener for the Orioles against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field and Brian Matusz will start in Game Two of the season. Jake Arrieta is secured a spot in the rotation, and he'll likely start the home opener against the Detroit Tigers.

The Orioles will begin the season with a four-man rotation. The final spot, according to Showalter, is between Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton and Ryan Drese. Bergesen and Tillman are the front runners because of Britton's contract situation. The Orioles won't need a fifth starter until April 10.

Showalter said that Justin Duchscherer will start the season on the disabled list, but if all goes well, he could rejoin the club on April 21.

The cuts today include Mike Ballard, Chris Jakubauskas, Alberto Castillo, Chris George, Michel Hernandez and Josh Bell. Rule 5 pick Adrian Rosario cleared waivers and was returned to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers returned their Rule 5 pick, reliever Pat Egan, back to the Orioles. The Orioles will reveal a couple of more cuts closer to tonight's first pitch.

Tillman and Guthrie will start the split-squad games Sunday. On Monday, Matusz will pitch in a Triple-A game while Britton will start at Ed Smith against the Detroit Tigers.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 4:31 PM | | Comments (9)


hey i have some sort of impuster and some1 is makun funn of my typing and spilling. c howe good u r with big fury pawz. I tri to helpp leonard as much as i can with a brokun keybord. aslo, since they r goIng to annunce it l8er tonight maybee there wil b a trude betwen the o's & the twins for a lefty specialyst.....ruff and a woof!

Leonard, that is funny! But seriously, use the spellcheck.

Britton is going to the minors. Wherever Tillman goes he needs to stay for a while, the up and down didn't help his progress last year.

Saw the game last night against the Twins. The Orioles looked lethargic with no energy. Matusz could not find the plate and was unable to keep base runners close to the bag. Let's hope Showalter can instil some zip in this club.

Should we assume that the O's didn't think enough of Rosario to trade his rights for Egan's, or the reverse. Seems like a trade "made in heavan" if both teams wanted to keep their picks.

Also, how much do you think Connors mechanics philosophy has messed up Gregg or Matusz. They seemed to be fine prior to his "tweaking".

Jeff Z's reply: Orioles tried to work out a deal for Rosario and they couldn't. He's a 21-year-old kid with a nice arm. Brewers really have nothing to gain by letting him go. As for Connor, the tweaks are obviously meant to get the pitchers better in the long run, but it's been a struggle so far and both Matusz and Bergesen have admitted to struggling with them.

Leonard = The Man.

Start with Bergesen & Tillman, re-evaluate once Duke is back.

Jeff - I find it interesting that Buck's talking like Britton is still in the mix; wasn't he supposed to be going down this cut? That's what some pundits were saying.

The conventional wisdom is that Zach's got to go down to extend the Orioles' control of him one more year, and while I see the logic in it as a business decision, from a fan's perspective I'd much rather see him make the roster if he's one of the best 25 players.

Maybe the "win as many games as possible" mentality of Showalter is talking when he mentions Britton still being considered, and you know what? For the baseball side of Buck (is there another? LOL) Zach making the team is a no-brainer; he'll probably get trumped by the front office, but I sincerely think he wants to start the season with Britton in Baltimore.

Of course, that's just one fan's perspective over a thousand miles from the action. How accurate or inaccurate am I?

Jeff Z's reply: What manager wouldn't want to start the season with Britton in the rotation? He's clearly one of the Orioles' five best starters right now and he 's been their most effective starter this spring. But I think Buck is smart enough to know what the wise decision would be.

Jeff, I was really hopeful we could keep Rosario, does Pat Egan show comparable promise?

Jeff Z's reply: I really can't answer that question because Egan has been in Miwaukee's camp and I haven't seen him pitch in a while. But the ORioles do like him and showalter said that he could factor in the team's plans at some point this season. The consensus among scouts is that Rosario has more upside than Egan.

I am very comfortable with giving arietta and bergensen the 3-4 spots as of now.. I am far less confident Tillman is ready yet.. He still has some location and command issues I believe but I don't believe it will break him to give him 3-4 starts and evaluate dutch,or britton after april 21.. It could be bergensen or tillman or both struggling at that time. things should become clearer then... Maybe the BP will have to be sorted out a little more then too. I believe Buck can hold us together long enough to get that far.. The young middle IF will be guys to watch this year as well as Bell, Reimold, Snider, and a couple of OF at AA-AAA.


Whats going on with Nolan Reimold? I only hear good things about him and I know that he is playing better then Felix. Who do you think is going to make the team and who is better for the organization in the long term.

I personally never liked Pie or never considered him to a good player, maybe him being immature, but would like another view. I have been wrong before.

Jeff Z's reply: Reimold is having a good camp and has outplayed Pie by a mile. But I still think Reimold starts season at Triple-A and Pie makes the club. Reimold still has an option remaining and you can send him down without losing him. Pie does not. Also, Pie is a better defensive outfielder and Showalter will probably substitute Luke Scott out of left field late in tight games. But the Orioles are still high on Reimold. If he doesn't start season with club, he'll be up here sooner than later. But he really could use getting steady at-bats.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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