The Orioles pitching staff continued to take shape Thursday as manager Buck Showalter announced that right-hander Mike Wright will start the fourth game of the season and fellow pitching prospect Tyler Wilson also made the team.
Two pitching prospects who began spring training on the outside looking in are now part of the Orioles' Opening Day roster, with one earning a spot in the starting rotation.
Manager Buck Showalter said Thursday that right-hander Mike Wright will be the fourth starter, while fellow right-hander Tyler Wilson is on the team and remains a candidate to be the fifth starter.
For the two young pitchers, both of whom debuted in the majors last year, this spring was seen as an opportunity to solidify themselves as future options for the club.
Combine their standout springs, the release of right-hander Miguel Gonzalez and the need for a stand-in starter while right-hander Kevin Gausman is on the disabled list, and the time is now.
"Mike won the job," Showalter said. "Mike pitched well this spring, and had a great year last year in Triple-A. It's his time. I don't know how much simpler you can make it."
The team had already announced that right-handers Yovani Gallardo and Ubaldo Jimenez would follow Opening Day starter Chris Tillman. Wright, who ended the spring with a 4.79 ERA in six starts and a 17-to-6 strikeout-to-walk rate over 20 2/3 innings, will be up next on April 8.
Both he and Wilson solidified their spots Monday against a full-strength Boston Red Sox lineup. Wright allowed a run on four hits in five innings, then Wilson relieved him with two scoreless innings.
"We'll see how we're going to use Tyler yet, but Tyler made the club," Showalter said. "I told him today. That was fun."
Wilson and Showalter both said Monday he could still be stretched out to start, as he's throwing two- and three-inning stints every four days to see how his body responds to it. The Orioles need a fifth starter on April 10, and Showalter said that would be left unannounced for the next few days.
"I've got a strong lean, but it could change," Showalter said. "We're going to leave ourselves some [room]. That fifth starter's not needed until the 10th, so the options to pitch Game 5 will be available in the bullpen for a few days."
Wilson, right-hander Vance Worley and left-hander T.J. McFarland, appear to be the internal fifth starter options. Wilson threw three innings and allowed one run Thursday to finish the spring with a 2.60 ERA in 17 1/3 innings.
Wilson said it's "really cool" that the two received the good news on the same day, and doesn't really need to know what his role is to enjoy the moment.
"The biggest decision is behind us now," Wilson said. "I'll just take the ball whenever they give it to me, and I'm just looking forward to going out there, getting outs, competing and just winning games."
Monday will be both Wilson and Wright's first Opening Day spent with the Orioles. Wright was 3-5 with a 6.04 ERA in 12 major league appearances (nine starts) last season, while Wilson was 2-2 with a 3.50 ERA in nine appearances (five starts).