With the Orioles lacking in left-handed starting pitching at the major league level and short on starting pitching at Triple-A Norfolk, veteran left-hander Wandy Rodriguez has joined the team on a minor league contract.
Rodriguez, 37, last pitched in the majors in 2015 with the Texas Rangers, but was designated for assignment in July and ended the season on a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals.
Manager Buck Showalter said he would go to extended spring training in Sarasota for the time being.
He returned this spring to the Houston Astros, where he spent the first eight seasons of his career and enjoyed success from 2008 until he was traded in 2012. But the Astros released him shortly after the season began. He had a 3.95 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP in 13 2/3 innings over six appearances in the Grapefruit League this year.
Rodriguez had a 4.90 ERA in 17 appearances (15 starts) for the Rangers last season, a year after posting a career-worst 6.75 ERA in six starts in 2014 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who released him in May of that year.
Orioles right-hander Yovani Gallardo was Rodriguez's teammate last year in Texas, and said the main thing he brings to any staff is experience.
"I think he's one of those guys who has been around the game a lot and knows how to pitch," Gallardo said. "He's had pretty good success throughout his career. Just by playing with him last year in Texas, he works hard. He works hard each and every time between starts to be out there every fifth day — or whatever role he's in. I think it's important to have guys like that, that have just been around the game with a lot of experience. I think he brings a lot to the table, just with the fact that he knows how to pitch. Obviously, he's going to do everything he can to go out there and win ballgames for the club, for whatever club he's with."
For his career, Rodriguez is 97-98 with a 4.10 ERA, a 1.345 WHIP and 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
It has been nearly four weeks since he was released by the Astros, and it's unclear how soon the veteran left-hander can return to game action. Once he is ready, he could slot into a Triple-A rotation that needs one more pitcher after this week's release of veteran minor leaguer Terry Doyle.
The Triple-A rotation also consists of Nick Additon, Odrisamer Despaigne, David Hale and Ariel Miranda.
There are no left-handed starters in the Orioles rotation. Miranda and Additon are the only ones in Triple-A. Below at Double-A, Chris Lee and Jayson Aquino represent the rest of the left-handed starting depth in the Orioles organization.