Maybe it was the motivation of pitching against his old team, the New York Mets, at the only spring training ballpark he'd ever known.
Or maybe Josh Edgin, who sports a shaved head and goatee a la former wrestling star Stone Cold Steve Austin, got an extra boost from pitching on his doppelgänger's unofficial March 16 holiday.
Whatever it was, the Orioles nonroster left-hander made his best case for a bullpen spot of the spring Friday against the Mets.
Edgin, 31, fanned two around a walk in a scoreless inning to bring his spring line to a run on two hits in five innings, and with the end of spring fast approaching, he believes he's made a good impression for a bullpen role.
"I'm just kind of going at it day by day, trying to do the best I can every day and see what happens really, at the end," Edgin said. "Obviously, my personal expectation is to make the team, but I don't make those choices. I can only do so much to help them figure out what they want to do."
Edgin and the remaining relievers in camp outside of the established foursome of Brad Brach, Darren O'Day, Mychal Givens and Richard Bleier are part of a tightly packed race. The left-handers in that mix — Edgin, Donnie Hart, Joely Rodríguez and Tanner Scott — have all pitched well this spring. Rule 5 draft pick Nestor Cortes Jr. is also a left-hander who could pitch in any role at this point, and manager Buck Showalter said Saturday before the Orioles played the Toronto Blue Jays that they could keep as many as three lefties, including Bleier, when camp breaks.
"All scenarios are in play right now," Showalter said. "If you look at an all right-handed rotation — the potential for that — it's something that you look at a little more diligently. Especially with some of our left-handers having the ability to pitch longer. With the potential of having not a real optionable bullpen, You've got to have guys down there who can do multiple jobs."
Presley 'as advertised'
As the Orioles outfield situation gets pared down, Alex Presley thinks he can provide plenty should the Orioles keep him. Signed as a minor league free agent earlier in camp, Presley is batting .313 (10-for-32) with three RBIs while playing all over the outfield.
"I'm just trying to do whatever is asked of me and worry about what I'm doing and not outside things and stuff I can't control, which is one of the hardest things in spring training to do — there's so much swirling around," Presley said. "You try to worry about your work and the game, and that's it. It's almost impossible, but you try to minimize it as much as you can."
Presley signed a minor league deal despite hitting .314 with a .770 OPS with the Detroit Tigers last season, but said he's shown both in his career and this spring that he can do whatever is asked, whenever it's asked.
"I think [I've showed] the ability to be in a lot of different situations," Presley said. "I've done them all over my career at the highest level. I've done everything — I've started for stretches, done every outfield position, pinch-hit, pinch-run. I've pretty much done everything that can be asked of me as far as an outfielder who can play all positions. Just a versatility aspect, and just to be reliable — a guy you know you can put in for a while and you know is going to do the right thing.
"This is a guy with a pretty good track record of hitting last year, talking to some people that had him before, he's been as advertised," Showalter said. "He's a baseball player who can play all three, a good runner who can swing the bat a little bit. And his track record shows you what he's showed here. He's a good depth piece for us trying to make the club."
Presley, 32, is in a group that includes Craig Gentry, Danny Valencia, Pedro Álvarez and Austin Hays competing for a bench spot.
Around the horn
First baseman Chris Davis will play Sunday, Showalter said. Davis tried to talk his way into Saturday’s lineup after an extended absence with an elbow injury, but Showalter said they decided to stick with the plan. ... Former Orioles right-hander Jeremy Hellickson signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals on Friday, according to multiple reports. ... Orioles pitchers Kevin Gausman and Chris Tillman served as bat boys, complete with customary jerseys, for Saturday's game as the punishment for their performance in the team's fantasy football league.