Manager Dave Trembley understands why Troy Patton believes he could evolve into a reliever in this organization, with so many young starters ahead of him and jostling for position in the upper levels of the minors. But the left-hander's role won't undergo any immediate changes.
"I brought that up early in the year in our meetings, if we could ever envision him being a guy like (Mark) Hendrickson - a long guy, a left-handed guy, a swing guy. But I don't think we're ready to do that with him yet," Trembley said. "Just let him keep starting and see how that develops. But that's an intriguing possibility."
Brandon Erbe was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk, but that doesn't mean he'll open the season with the Tides. He could drop down to Double-A Bowie. We'll find out later this spring.
"Erbe said he had a blast and enjoyed it," Trembley said. "I was impressed not so much with his stuff, but with his demeanor. His demeanor on the mound was business-like. Very good body language, very good mound presence. He had life on his pitches. I can see why there's talk...he's a starter and people say maybe this guy can be a late end-of-the-game type of guy.
"He's going to pitch in the big leagues."
Trembley continues to rave about Luis Lebron's "major league fastball."
"And he has a sharp slider," Trembley added. "He's going to pitch in the big leagues, too. Both of them have special arms, great bodies. They're long, lean, good workers, good makeup.
"There have been other guys who have come through and people have missed on them, maybe over-projected them. Erbe and Lebron will pitch in the big leagues. Let's just hope it's for the Orioles. They're very good."
Troy Patton told Trembley that the way he pitched in yesterday's B-squad game was "the best he's felt since he had surgery."
"With him, his arm slot's got to be the same all the time. If you saw him earlier, his arm slot was dropping and the ball would leak out of the zone."
Chorye Spoone was told that, being a year removed from surgery, he needs to use this season to "build up to where he once was." He's expected to start at Bowie.
"He needs to get himself in shape physically. He got a little heavy," Trembley said. "He needs to build his arm strength up and get that sinker back. If he can, he could be a pretty good starting pitcher. He'd be a good No. 5 guy, I think, but he's got to go out and pitch and stay healthy."
Trembley was asked whether he prefers to replace Roberts with a player already on the roster, should the need arise, or if he believes the club needs to look outside the organization.
"You're always looking to improve the club," he said. "Andy (MacPhail) has made it very clear that he'll look at all options available, and I would concur with that. (Ty) Wigginton is playing second base again today. We need to do what we can with what we have right here in camp, and if something happens from outside the camp, we'll deal with it then.
"I'd still like to believe Roberts will be our guy, but we're at the point now where you have to start thinking about the possibility of what can we do elsewhere? Are you going to give (Justin) Turner some more time at second? (Robert) Andino? Wigginton? You'll see those three guys.
"Miguel Abreu has had a tremendous camp. He's headed to the minor leagues to play."