Duquette talks about Rauch

The Orioles had interest in signing pitcher Jon Rauch over the winter, and they were able to secure a minor league deal with him over the weekend.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette is hoping that his patience pays off.

Rauch will report to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday and join the Tides bullpen. A spot must be cleared for him, since the current roster is at full capacity.

“He’s a qualified major league reliever,” Duquette said. “He had a really good year last year. He can set up and hold a game, and he can also save a game. He’s got over 60 saves (62) in his major league career, so he’s a good veteran relief presence and we’ll take a look at him at Triple-A and see how it goes.”

Rauch was 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA in 15 games with the Miami Marlins this year.

“Sometimes with a new team, it doesn’t work out right away,” Duquette said. “Sometimes when you’re a veteran pitcher, it takes a little more time to get into the swing of things. That’s really what we’re taking a look at.”

Duquette wouldn’t confirm whether Rauch has an opt-out clause in his contract, but that’s the assumption, given how Duquette playfully dodged the question.

Rauch is viewed as a replacement of sorts for veteran Luis Ayala, who was traded to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Chris Jones.

“His experience really replaces the experience we lost when we traded Luis Ayala,” Duquette said. “His record is almost as good as Ayala’s, but not quite. But he’s a veteran pitcher and we like veteran pitchers.”

The Tides bullpen is pretty deep. Duquette said he’s encouraged by the development of left-handers Jones and Mike Belfiore, and the unit also includes closer Jairo Asencio (12 saves), Adam Russell, Mark Hendrickson, Manny Delcarmen and Daniel Schlereth.

“We have some qualified options,” Duquette said.

“Asencio has done very well in Triple-A, but it hasn’t translated in the big leagues. But he’s got a little bit better command this time.”

Rauch is listed at 6-foot-11. Hendrickson is 6-9 and Russell is 6-8.

“It’s like big-time wrestling,” Duquette said. “It’s the entertainment value, right?”

Also, Duquette said the Orioles will keep Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia at Double-A Bowie instead of moving him up to Norfolk.

Urrutia is batting .331/.406/.496 with 12 doubles, three homers and 20 RBIs. The Orioles want to see how he adjusts to pitchers who are making the adjustment to him.

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