The Orioles have announced their 16 nonroster invitees for spring training camp, and the list includes a well-traveled outfielder who could provide bench depth and a starting pitcher whose best season came years ago under manager Buck Showalter.
Randy Winn, a 36-year-old switch hitter who has played in 13 big league seasons, hit .239 with a .307 on-base percentage in 116 games last year for the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals. Winn, like most of the other invitees, is on a minor league deal.
"He's been a proven, versatile veteran that can play all three outfield positions and switch hit," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "He's a pro's pro. I think [Showalter] wanted to supplement some of the outfield options for us, and he gives us some flexibility to see how the events unfold."
The Orioles' starting outfield is likely set with right fielder Nick Markakis, center fielder Adam Jones and a left-field platoon of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold. It becomes more crowded if the club signs designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero and pushes Luke Scott into left field.
Winn, however, provides depth and would be a versatile fourth outfielder if an injury or a trade occurs, or if Reimold needs to begin the season at Triple-A Norfolk.
Another interesting addition is 34-year-old right-handed starter Ryan Drese, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2006 with the Washington Nationals. He didn't play affiliated baseball the past two seasons but went 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA in nine starts in the Mexican Winter League.
Drese's best season as a big leaguer was with Showalter's Texas Rangers in 2004, when he went 14-10 with a 4.20 ERA in 34 games (33 starts).
Here's the full list of invitees: pitchers Drese, Mitch Atkins, Armando Gabino, Mark Hendrickson, Wynn Pelzer, Clay Rapada, Raul Rivero and Josh Rupe; catchers Adam Donachie, Michel Hernandez and Caleb Joseph; infielders Ryan Adams, Nick Green, Brendan Harris and Tyler Henson; and outfielder Winn.
Thorne will host Hall of Fame induction
Orioles and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network broadcaster Gary Thorne will host the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies this year, replacing George Grande.
Thorne, who has called Orioles games since 2007, also has been elected president of the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT), which aids members of baseball's extended family who might need help financially and in other matters.
In a 47-year broadcasting career, Thorne has covered major league baseball, the NHL, the Olympics and several college sports.
Duchscherer announcement expected Friday
Right-hander Justin Duchscherer, who has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 contract that could be worth $4.5 million if he makes 30 bigleague starts in 2011, spent Wednesday and Thursday undergoing physical examinations by Orioles doctors.
As of Thursday night, results of the tests were not known, but if all went well, the club is expected to announce his signing Friday. With Duchscherer in the fold, the Orioles' 40-man roster will be full.
Around the horn
MacPhail said it's possible the club could add a few more minor league players to camp before the workouts begin. … No active big leaguer has played in more games (1,717) than Winn without appearing in the playoffs. … The first workout for pitchers and catchers in big league camp is Feb. 14. The first for big league hitters is Feb. 21. The Orioles' first Grapefruit League game is against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Feb. 28. The home schedule at renovated Ed Smith Stadium begins March 1 versus the Tampa Bay Rays. …. O's minor league pitchers hold their first workout March 7, and hitters are on March 11. Minor league games begin March 16.