Left-hander Troy Patton looks at all the young starters in camp and thinks that the bullpen might not be such a bad place.
Patton says he hasn’t been approached by anyone in the organization about changing roles, but it’s interesting that he seems so open to the idea.
“It’s a crapshoot,” he said. “There’s so many good, young pitchers. It’s pretty obvious that I’ll be in Triple-A, but whether they want me to remain as a starter or go to the bullpen, they haven’t talked to me about it yet. As of now, I’d assume I’ll be a starter in Triple-A, if I had to guess.
“I’m open-minded to anything. If that’s the way I could help the team and get to the major leagues, then obviously I’m willing to make adjustments and do what I’ve got to do. I don’t care either way.”
Patton is likely to rejoin Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation. At this stage of his career, it’s more important that he’s healthy and pitching in any capacity.
Coming back from labrum surgery that cost him the 2008 season, Patton went 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 11 starts at Double-A Bowie and was named the organization’s Pitcher of the Month for May (4-1, 2.17 ERA). He gradually wore down after being promoted to Norfolk and finished 1-3 with a 6.45 ERA in nine starts with the Tides.
“I’ve been feeling really good,” he said. “My arm’s been loose and live, and I feel better than I have in any spring training with the Orioles, obviously.”
Patton has been using all of his pitches in camp. He isn’t holding back.
“I’ve been recovering well,” he said. “I’m focused and ready.”
Ready for anything.
Nothing is official, but we could be looking at a Norfolk rotation that includes Patton, David Hernandez, Jason Berken and Jake Arrieta. Not too shabby. And the organization must decide whether to bump up Brandon Erbe to Triple-A after he made 14 starts with the Baysox.