Orioles manager Buck Showalter still figures that third baseman Manny Machado will be ready for opening day as long as he's playing in exhibition games the middle of March.
Shouldn't be an issue.
Showalter will slow-play left-hander Troy Patton, who must serve a 25-game suspension to start the season. Patton may not find many innings in Grapefruit League games.
Nick Markakis is still sporting a full beard, thick enough to carry his glove.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette met with reporters earlier today. Here's a sampling:
On trying to add a starter:
"We're going to see what we can do to add a veteran pitcher between now and when spring training starts. We think we have the core of a good staff, but if we could add a veteran starter that would stabilize our staff and help us get off to a good start... Some of these young pitchers who we really like should be able to help us later on in the season, but if we could sign a veteran starter, I think that would help fill out our ballclub.
"I think a lot of these pitchers will sign over the next week or so."
On report that Orioles are "all-in" on A.J. Burnett:
"I'm not sure where that report came from, but we'd like to sign a veteran starter and there are a couple qualified veteran starters who are still on the market."
On whether he could sign more than one starter:
"We've talked to a number of pitchers about helping our ballclub and signing here. I think we need to go one at a time. I don't know how this market's going to end up, but it's been very, very robust."
On possibility of signing a reliever:
"There are a couple relievers out there. I think ideally we'd like to sign a couple pitchers between now and when we open. A couple quality pitchers would be helpful."
On fan angst over the offseason and the need for patience:
"I think it's taken patience in this marketplace for us to get to a point where we can sign a pitcher and I hope that patience is rewarded when we're able to sign a veteran pitcher or two to help our team.
"The thing I want to point out is that Baltimore is going to make a living, the Orioles, by bringing up their best players through the farm system. Our very best players are not going to come to our major league team through free agency. They're going to come through our farm system and we're going to utilize free agency to supplement our team. So if people have the expectation that we're going to sign a lot of high-profile free agents, that's going to be the answer. That is not who the Orioles are about. We're going to have a good, solid player development operation and that's going to be the core of our ballclub."
On possibility of avoiding arbitration with Matt Wieters:
"I hope so. We're going to try to get Matt's contract resolved this week and we're going to do our best to resolve that with an agreement if we can. If we can't, then we'll go to arbitration, but we'll try to resolve it."
On whether he's focusing on one-year deal or long-term extension:
"It's on one year."
On result of Manny Machado's knee exam:
"I understand that the doctor told ESPN that Manny's been cleared to play. I did speak to the doctor's office last week and they told me that they expected to clear Manny, so that's good news. He worked very hard on his rehab to get himself ready to come back."
On whether he's looking to sign a designated hitter:
"We have been looking at some options in the free agent market for a DH and we'll have to see if that materializes. But having said that, Delmon Young is very good against left-handed pitching. I think he can do well. We've got Nolan Reimold as a possibility, Henry Urrutia. I really like Henry to help our ballclub this year. He's had a .400 on-base and .500 slugging every place he's played other than Baltimore, and that's Cuba, Double-A, Triple-A and Arizona. I don't see any reason why he can't make a contribution to our team. He can hit and he also has some power.
"There are some other options we're looking at, but we do have some other people already in the organization who can do that job."
On his view of the offseason so far:
"I want to say this: We have some more work to do this offseason. We're going to see what we can do between now and when the season starts. If we can get the work done that we've been trying to get done, I think we'll have a very competitive team."