Around the time of last year's minicamp, when the Orioles broke the news to electric left-hander Tanner Scott that he'd be working out of the starting rotation instead of the relief role that had suited him well as a pro, he wasn't nearly as certain about its benefits as he is now.

"It was definitely a good idea," Scott said. "I had good numbers last year and it was really good working on all my pitches and getting those extra innings in. I remember when I first got the call that I'm going to be a starter again. I was like, ‘Uh oh,’ but I accepted the challenge, and whatever challenge they give me this year, I'm going to go with it."


As the Orioles begin back down that path for 2018, with Scott now on the 40-man roster after a September cameo, his short-term development still might not be in the role where the team sees a big league future for him.

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The right-hander has hardly pitched in three years, but on talent alone, manager Buck Showalter believes he could handle being in the majors in 2018. Whether he does so has a complicated precedent with the club and Dylan Bundy.

Director of player development Brian Graham said Tuesday that Scott would likely be back as a starter.

“Right now, it is [the same],” Graham said. “Hopefully in Triple-A. he'll start and get innings and pitch development.”

After posting a 2.22 ERA in 69 innings over 24 starts last season for Double-A Bowie, combined with his major league time and the Arizona Fall League, Scott pitched 80 total innings in 2017 — which is the same as his 2016 total as a reliever.

The main benefit of the starter's schedule was that Scott got a bullpen session between starts to refine his mechanics, which he's always struggled to maintain, and develop his slider. Many scouts saw a full-grade jump in his breaking ball from 2016 to 2017, and Scott believes it's a weapon he can be confident in going forward.

Should he stay on the starter's track, the club might ask Scott to put similar focus on his changeup, a pitch he seldom throws in games but could truly make him a rotation option at the highest level. While a fastball-slider left-hander who throws 100 mph could survive in a major league rotation if deployed correctly, a changeup would add a different dimension for him against right-handed hitters.

"I'll always have my changeup," Scott said. "It's in my back pocket, but it's just depending on what they want me to do with it, how I use it. My fastball, slider — I think my slider is my second-best pitch. This year, it made a lot of steps to being where it's at now. It's really good. But other than that, if they want me to work on it more, I'll work on it. I'll still have it and use it."

Another year as a starter would be complicated from a competition standpoint, as the Orioles' constantly shuffling pitching staff at Triple-A Norfolk might not accommodate prescribed three-inning starts easily. Scott has already thrived in Bowie, though his six walks per nine could be something he can work on at that level.

Either way, Scott has eyes toward success. A list of his idols is diverse, from left-handed starters Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw to Orioles teammate Zach Britton and Hall of Fame candidate Billy Wagner. Each used a lively left arm to succeed in whichever role he was used, and that's Scott's focus as he prepares to wrap yet another minicamp.

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Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he's continued discussions with involved parties about where Manny Machado and Tim Beckham will play in 2018, but the decision isn't public yer.

"They haven't told me what they want to do with me yet," Scott said. "They probably will and I'll just go from there and try to do my best to break camp and see where I go from there."

Around the horn

Right-hander Cody Sedlock, the Orioles’ first-round draft pick in 2016, will be at early minor league minicamp. Sedlock dealt with elbow soreness in 2017 and is still rehabilitating back home. “He's doing good," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “The whole idea was leave him alone. I didn't want him to have to come here and feel like he had to push.” … Five pitchers — right-handers Hunter Harvey, Lucas Long and Yefry Ramírez, and left-hander Joely Rodríguez and Luis Gonzalez — threw bullpen sessions during Tuesday’s workout. … The Orioles last week signed 19-year-old left-hander Edinson Lopez to a minor league contract, according to MLB’s transaction wire.