Manager Buck Showalter said the team’s entire rotation is mapped out through the month of April, and they’ve “got an idea of who the [No.] 5 starter will be.”
Over the last week, Chris Lee, Mike Wright, Jayson Aquino and Gabriel Ynoa have made Grapefruit League starts to test their chances on a big stage, and Tyler Wilson starts Monday, though Showalter said he’s viewed in the short-term more as a relief option.
Showalter has said the entire decision of who will start on April 15 won’t be based on one start — if that was the case, Ynoa and Aquino are the front-runners — but said there’s no tiebreaker going toward major league experience, which Wright and Ynoa have.
“I don’t think we’ve got anybody with enough track record there to really jump out at you,” Showalter said. “It could be, if we had someone like that. You could kind of throw out spring training a little bit, but we’re not in that position right now. We’ve got a couple spots in the bullpen to figure out — there’s about four guys competing for that — and a couple decisions for position players.”
The Orioles rotation hasn’t been a settled situation all spring. Chris Tillman’s shoulder soreness meant there would be a scramble to get him back for his first turn through the rotation, which because of off-days could have been as late as April 15.
As Tillman’s rehab stalled, the question then became who would be the team’s fifth starter behind Opening Day starter Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy (who starts April 5), Ubaldo Jimenez, and Wade Miley. Whomever the team has landed on in its search will still go to Triple-A Norfolk anyway, Showalter said.
But that’s not the only question they have. Miley, owed to his leaving a start in early March after a line drive hit him in the arm and chest, then missing another due to illness, enters his start Tuesday with just nine Grapefruit League innings pitched, with three innings on March 14 being the most in a start.
Because of that uncertainty, Showalter said the order of Miley and Jimenez for the beginning of the series against the New York Yankees that opens April 7 isn’t set in stone. Gausman could come back on full rest for the April 8 game, but if Miley isn’t ready, Jimenez would likely be slotted into the third spot on April 7 and another starter would need to be added for April 9.
Sisco sent down: Catcher Chance Sisco, who is the Orioles' top prospect, was reassigned to minor league camp Monday morning, Showalter said.
On Sunday, after Sisco caught the full nine innings behind the plate, Showalter said no one has gotten more out of camp this year than the 22-year-old catcher, especially defensively.
"I can’t really speak for anyone else, but I feel like I’ve gotten a ton out of camp," Sisco said. "I’ve made some pretty good strides so, to an extent, I agree with that. ... We’ve worked on everything, obviously, but throwing would definitely be the spot where I’ve made the biggest strides this camp."
Sisco being sent down gives the Orioles 40 players remaining in camp, including eight non-roster players. Showalter expects more cuts Monday.
Santander to DL likely: Rule 5 outfielder Anthony Santander seems ticketed for the disabled list, as Showalter said shoulder and elbow issues have delayed his return to the defensive side of the game too much to have him break camp with the club.
“He’s just started throwing a little bit, but he looks like … it’s going to be tough for him to make the start of the season,” Showalter said.
Santander, a promising hitter, hasn’t played since March 13, when he reported some inflammation of his elbow. At that point, Santander was beginning outfield throws for the first time since offseason shoulder surgery, and the team was anxious to see if he’d be able to defend enough to possibly warrant a bench spot.
Putting Santander on the disabled list would delay any kind of decision on returning him to his former team, the Cleveland Indians, or trying to pass him through waivers.
Around the horn: Outfielders Seth Smith, Pedro Alvarez and Hyun Soo Kim went to Twin Lakes Park for minor league games on Monday with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez pitching for Boston in the major league game. The Orioles have faced three straight left-handers. Several players who don’t go to Orlando to face the Atlanta Braves will go to minor league games on Tuesday, Showalter said. … Showalter said Jimenez struck out 10 in a minor league game Sunday. “I’m telling you, and I’ve been telling you, his stuff has been crisp all spring,” Showalter said.