The great thing about spring training is that it allows you to believe anything you want. If you want to look at a great pitching performance and jump to some outsized conclusion about that pitcher's prospects for the regular season, go to town.
It's certainly tempting to do that after Tommy Hunter looked so good against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night. He allowed just one hit over six scoreless innings, struck out five and got through it all so easily he had to go to the bullpen afterward to get up to his pitch count.
Does that mean he's going to beguile the Yankees two weeks from now? Maybe not, but the Orioles need all the good news they can get right now, and that was a pretty impressive performance.
Hunter had a pretty good season in 2010 for the Texas Rangers, and he pitched well out of the bullpen for them last year before being traded to the Orioles in the Koji Uehara deal. He wasn't particularly impressive in his 11 starts for the O's down the stretch, but he's still a young pitcher (He's 25 and Buck Showalter likes to point out that he's younger than Jake Arrieta) and he's 10 games over .500 in the majors.
He is a candidate for the Opening Day start, though the planets seem to be lining up for Arrieta. Seems more likely he will open the second series of the regular season against the Yankees.
Of course, the Pirates spring lineup does not compare with what the Yankees will throw at him when it counts, but -- right now -- everybody has the right to believe whatever they want to believe.