Will Tillman & Britton battle for fifth starter’s spot?

The Orioles are clearly in the market for pitching, especially the bullpen variety.

But what about the rotation?

With four spots looking pretty set - with Guthrie, Matusz, Arrietaand Bergesen - who will round out that rotation?

O’s manager Buck Showalter said today he is open to a possible competition in camp between Chris Tillman and Zach Britton for that fifth spot. The O’s still have plenty of time to add a starter which could send both young guys back to the minors. But that is not set in stone today.

“Right now, we’ve got six or seven for five (spots), right? If you look at the schedule with the off days and what have you, I hope they all make it tough on us. They have a way of separating themselves in the spring. But you have to be careful, in the spring and fall, some of the worst evaluations go on.

“We like that we have them and we have some depth there with the younger pitchers and some more coming. I know Andy has thought about possibly adding another pitcher if we can make it work, if not, I’m real comfortable with letting those guys compete for that fifth spot.

“I know Mark and Rick are too. They’ve been watching a lot of tape and putting their arms around these guys the last three or four weeks. In fact we are going to go over a lot of it on Friday and Saturday in Baltimore.”

So could Buck see a Tillman vs. Britton camp competition?

“I wouldn’t throw that out of the realm of possibility, no. I haven’t said that one has definitely got to start in Triple-A, but that’s just me.”

Showalter also talked further about the Mark Reynolds trade when he met with Baltimore and other reporters here this afternoon. He talked about how Reynolds could help his lineup perform better vs. left-handed pitchers.

“It’s something that we talked about. With Mark, probably the low area of his statistical in his career, that he’s gonna have, he still did x-number of things.

“The way I look at it, we’re gonna see a minimum of nine to 10 left-handed starters in the month of April. We’d like to get off to a decent start and that was another factor when you look at the total picture where Mark is concerned.

“Plus, he is 27 years old and under control for really the next two or three years. I mean, he’s younger than a lot of players we’re describing as our young core.”

Showalter was also asked his evaluation of catcher Matt Wieters.

“Keep in mind, he’s a couple of years from his college senior year, so to speak. I came in with an open mind about everything and I was not surprised, but I was really happy with Matt.

“He cares about catching, he cares about putting down good fingers, he cares about the pitching staff. All the other stuff, let’s face it, he makes about 100 to 200 decisions a night behind the plate and he gets four at bats, you do the math.

“He grasped that at an early age. What he does offensively, I don’t really spend much time dwelling on it. I think the greatest compliment I can pay him is he’s going to be as good as he’s capable of being. Whatever that is, he’ll reach it. He’s good people, I’m glad he’s on our side.”

Roch also has quotes from Showalter’s briefing today. At around 6 p.m. we will be talking with Andy MacPhail so look for updates on that session here later today.

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