Talking to Arrieta and Showalter (and more)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Jake Arrieta's next start was moved back a day, which puts him on the mound Saturday against the Pirates in Bradenton.

What's he been told?

"Pretty much that they want to maximize my off-days and my ability to recover, give me an extra day here and there if it's available," he said. "I'm all for that. I like where I'm at physically, but the off days definitely will help."

Couldn't this change signal that he's going to start the April 6 opener at Camden Yards?

"I really don't know what they're going to do for sure yet because it's a six- or seven-day layoff," he said. "Not sure if I'll throw two bullpens that week leading up to the first couple games. I would assume I'll hear more within the next few days, just like a lot of the other guys."

Arrieta threw in the bullpen today and he'll do a couple long-toss sessions, talk to pitching coach Rick Adair "and kind of go from there," he said.

"I really don't have a set schedule at this point. Things are likely to change, depending on what's going to happen in the next few days.

"We're still kind of trying to figure things out, but it's approaching the end of camp and some things will come out in the next few days, I would assume, so we'll see."

Look for manager Buck Showalter to confirm that Arrieta is the opening day starter. We're just waiting for it to happen.

His arm might be twisted a little Wednesday in Dunedin.

Showalter confirmed that he's viewing Tsuyoshi Wada as a starter at this point. The Orioles are hesitant to put him in the bullpen and force him to adapt to a new role, along with life in the U.S.

"I just want him to attack the rest of his time down here and hopefully get to five or six innings, and that leaves our options to us," Showalter said. "Right now, we're looking at him as a starter, and I don't want him thinking anything else."

The Orioles want Wada to go four innings today.

"We like the guy a lot," Showalter said. "It's just another progression. Go four innings. Usually, this time of year, everybody's ... I wouldn't say there's more intensity, but there's a sense of urgency with the games, so it will be a good barometer to see where he is physically and everything. We feel confident that if he's healthy, he's going to have some success. It's as much a physical thing for me today, the durability factor, as anything else."

Wada could make two more starts after today and get up to six innings in the last one before leaving camp.

"It just takes a little imagination and some maneuverability," Showalter said.

Showalter wouldn't confirm that Tommy Hunter has made the rotation, though I'd be shocked if he's excluded.

"I'm not going to handicap that right now," Showalter said. "Tommy pitched well last night. That was good to see."

The Orioles could break camp with two left-handers in the bullpen, and "you could make a case for three or one or none," Showalter said.

He'll keep at least one. He's just happy to have more choices than last spring.

"I don't call it a dilemma," he said. "I just call it the good challenge we have. We didn't have this challenge last year. We have good pitchers who are available to pick from. If it's 50-50, you understand what the tie-breaker might be, but in a lot of cases it's not.

"I think this spring, the players are doing everything they can do to not solve it for us, in a good way."

Troy Patton and Zach Phillips have been impressive, which complicates the lefty reliever decision.

"They've both pitched well here," Showalter said. "I think both have done the things to continue to make us think good things about them. I like the fact that both of them can defend themselves against right-handed hitters. We need to have some length in our bullpen, but if you carry one left-hander, you don't want to do it with him."

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