BALTIMORE - Dan Duquette's No. 1 goal since becoming the Baltimore Orioles' executive vice president of baseball operations has been to build the organization's pitching depth.
He continued to do that Wednesday when he agreed to terms with veteran right-hander Joel Pineiro on a minor-league contract.
Pineiro, 33, had been in spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies, but was released on March 19. So much like they did with left-hander Dontrelle Willis late in the spring, the Orioles scooped up Pineiro and the plan is to install him in Class AAA Norfolk's rotation.
"He has a good sinker and excellent control and he also has a changeup and two good breaking pitches," Duquette said before the series finale against the New York Yankees. "He's a qualified major league pitcher. He's a winning major league pitcher. He's 33 years old and we could use depth for our major league staff, and who knows."
Pineiro owns a 104-93 record over 12 big-league seasons spent with the Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels.
In 2011, he went 7-7 with a 5.13 ERA in 27 appearances (24 starts) with the Angels. But over the prior two seasons, he was 25-19 with a 3.64 ERA in 55 starts.
For now, Pineiro is at extended spring training in Sarasota, Fla. Duquette isn't yet sure when Pineiro will become active with the Tides, but seemed glad to have further augmented the organization's stable of pitchers.
"It's important to have good pitching depth and we have a front line of pitchers here, we have some other pitchers at Triple-A on option and we have some other pitchers getting ready down in Sarasota," Duquette said. "It's a long season."
ROBERTS' NEXT STEP: With the Orioles set to head on the road for the first time this season, it's unclear what the next step for second baseman Brian Roberts will be.
Despite starting the season on the disabled list because of continuing concussion symptoms, he came north with the team at the end of spring training and took early batting practice every day during the homestand.
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter also said Roberts spent much of the first two games of the season in the dugout with the team, and since then, he has been around the runway back top the clubhouse, regularly talking to his teammates.
But as for progressing toward returning to game action, Showalter believes constantly checking in on Roberts' status is counterproductive.
"It'll be up to him. ... We're going to lean on him and the doctors," Showalter said. "We need him. We'd like to have him, but I just don't think that's beneficial to be beating on him about what's the next step. He knows what the next step is. The next step is he goes and plays somewhere [in the minors] and when it happens, it happens.
"I just want when it happens that he doesn't have any setbacks with it."
Showalter wasn't sure whether Roberts would join the Orioles for the first two legs of their upcoming three-city road trip, although that had once been the plan.
As for when Roberts will try a minor-league rehab stint, Showalter said that's as simple as the 34-year-old walking into the manager's office and saying he's ready to play.
"I don't know any other way to handle it and I'm open to suggestions," Showalter said. "It's just such an inexact thing. ... He's mentioned a couple dates to me, but the first thing I told him is let's not become a prisoner to that, that if it's not happening at that date that everything's terrible and set back.
"We'll see what happens. From what you went through in the spring, it's not a real definitive date."
QUICK HITS: After Showalter contemplated shuffling the order of the Orioles' rotation after today's off-day, he decided to stick with Tommy Hunter Friday and Jason Hammel Saturday in Toronto. ... The Orioles have homered in each of the first five games of the season for the first time since 1994, when they hit two homers in each contest. The 1984 and 1966 Orioles set a franchise record by homering in each of the first seven games. ... With his 39th career save at Camden Yards Tuesday, Mariano Rivera moved into a tie with Randy Myers for the second-most saves converted at the ballpark. Jorge Julio is the all-time leader with 43.