DUNEDIN, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter refused to dismiss Dana Eveland from the rotation competition despite today’s results, but he conceded that it would probably be “a push” for Alfredo Simon to make it.
Eveland allowed three runs and six hits in four innings. He hadn’t gone more than three innings this spring and tossed one each in his last two outings.
“He was OK,” Showalter said. “Seen him better. We’ve seen him better.”
Eveland pretty much dismissed his chances of making the rotation, but Showalter said, “Everybody’s a candidate right now. We’ve got time for really two more starts if you look at the fifth starter, but if he sees it that way ... I’m not sure. He had 60-some pitches today. If he was a little more efficient with his pitches, he could have pitched five innings today.”
Eveland said he’s “up for whatever they want me to do.”
“Obviously, I want to be a part of this major league team,” he said. “I really like this group and I think there are a lot of things positive that are going to come out of this season with these guys, and I hope to be a part of it. That’s my biggest goal, to be a part of the 25-man roster.
“Honestly, I can’t see that I would be in the rotation because I haven’t been extended enough. It was my third start of spring, but it was my first time really getting extended. I wouldn’t be ready to go seven innings next week, so I don’t know if that is a possibility. If I could slide into the long relief job or the lefty guy in the pen, that would be great, but we have a lot of great competition in camp. There are four left-handers who could possibly fill in that bullpen job. Who knows what’s going to happen? We’ll see. I’m just going to ride it out and we’ll see just like you guys.
“I still think I’m going to get better. I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent sharp right now. Compared to where I was last season to where I am now, at this time last year I was barely pitching. I had pulled my hamstring early in spring training, so I’m further along this year. At the same time, I got a lot better throughout the year and I feel like I’ve got room to get better this year.”
Simon gave up six runs and six hits in two innings after being sidelined since March 18 with a strained groin.
Was Simon rusty?
“I hope so,” Showalter replied. “He pitched like a guy who had nine days off. He’ll be better next time out.”
Said Simon: “My leg felt really good. I just tried to the throw first pitch for strikes. The next innings I threw a lot of fastballs for strikes. They were swinging and they got good contact, a lot of base hits. But otherwise, I feel really good.
So what about Simon making the rotation?
“Probably a push for him,” Showalter said. “We’ll see.”
Said Simon: “I mean I don’t really know about that. I just have to wait this week and see what happens. Those guys know that I can be a starter or can be in the bullpen, depending on what they decide to do. That’s what they are going to do.”
Eveland and Simon are out of options. Simon is far more likely to be claimed off waivers because of his upper-90s fastball.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say neither pitcher makes the rotation. Simon could be a long reliever if he isn’t traded or kept back in extended spring training.
Zach Phillips retired all three batters he faced, but Showalter wasn’t impressed.
“Two hard-hit balls,” he said after it was suggested that Phillips pitched well today. “I don’t know if you’d call that ‘well.’ He pitched well to the last hitter. Just because balls go to people that are hit well doesn’t necessarily mean somebody’s pitched well.
“He pitched real well last time out, but I thought he was up just a little bit today. That’s why they squared up two balls off him today.”
Jason Esposito had two hits today. That was a positive.
“I know everybody thinks highly of him as a third baseman,” Showalter said. “They say he’s really made some strides offensively. You can see it today.”