SARASOTA, Fla. -- Left-hander Zach Britton came into camp looking like the favorite to win the fifth starter role, but things changed dramatically when the Orioles agreed to terms on a four-year deal with veteran pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.
Now Britton, who is out of options, has to make an even stronger case to make the major league roster. But he said he knew that all along.
"You expected it,'' Britton said. "I think I said at FanFest that it would be naive to think they wouldn't add somebody. So, it's stil the same mindset -- go out there and try to be one of the best five, and I think I'm capable of doing that.
"It gets tougher now, obviously. You have an established guy out here who they gave a lot of money to, and it's good for the club that we added him. But at the same time, I know if I pitch well, I'm still capable of being one of the best five, Whether that happens or not, it's out of my hands, but I have to go out there and continue to pitch well."
Britton also will be a candidate for the bullpen, though he wants to concentrate on competing for a place in the rotation.
"My first goal would be to be in the rotation,'' he said. "If not, the focus goes to the bullpen when they say that's an option."
Because he's out of minor league options, the team must keep him at the major league level or send him through waivers and make him available to other teams. He almost certainly would be claimed, so one way or the other, he likely will be on an Opening Day roster somewhere.