Orioles take chance on pitcher Baldwin

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Orioles signed right-handed pitcher James Baldwin to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training yesterday, in a move designed to add depth to their Triple-A Ottawa roster.

Baldwin, 33, was an All-Star for the Chicago White Sox in 2000, when he won a career-best 14 games, but he has not won a major league game since 2002.

"He's a guy who's had some success in the recent past," said Orioles vice president Mike Flanagan. "He made the All-Star team a few years back, and we think he's healthy. He pitched a lot of innings last year in the minor leagues, and this gives us some depth for our Triple-A roster."

At spring training, Baldwin will be a long shot to make the major league staff, even if the Orioles go to camp with their current crop of pitchers. Their top nine pitchers fighting for spots in the starting rotation will be Rodrigo Lopez, Sidney Ponson, Daniel Cabrera, Erik Bedard, Matt Riley, Kurt Ainsworth, Eric DuBose, Bruce Chen and John Maine.

Baldwin signed a minor-league deal with the New York Mets last year and went 0-2 with a 15.00 ERA in two appearances in the big leagues. At Triple-A, with the Mets and later the Detroit Tigers, he posted a 3.56 ERA last year in 146 2/3 innings.

For his major league career, Baldwin is 79-72 with a 5.07 ERA in parts of 10 seasons.

NOTE: The Orioles also extended spring training invitations to catcher Brandon Marsters and Hayden Penn, their 2004 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Marsters hit .209 with three home runs in 61 games for Triple-A Rochester in the Minnesota Twins' organization. Penn went 9-9 with a 3.89 ERA, splitting the season between Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie.

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