Looking at pitching depth and minor league rotations

Then there was one.

One day left until the Orioles begin a new season and we finally get to see games that count. My trip to Norfolk, Va., was fun but the day was obviously busy and filled with the news of the finalization of the rotation and the completing of the 25-man roster.

Buck Showalter made an interesting point a few times yesterday in talking about the final roster decisions. He basically said “it’s not where you start, but where you finish.”

He pointed out that reporters and fans get so focused on which players will make the season-opening 25-man roster that we sometimes forget that the team will make many roster changes during the season and some may happen sooner rather than later. Some players not on this team right now will turn out to have key roles this season.

For instance, pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada went on the disabled list yesterday, but can return to the active roster even before 15 days into the season since that move was backdated to March 28. Wada should be on this team pretty soon.

Others that will start in Triple-A Norfolk, but who could quickly make it to Baltimore include relievers Pat Neshek and Zach Phillips. What about Chris Tillman and his good spring? If he gets off to a good start with the Tides, he could position himself for a spot in Baltimore at some point.

Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken will be at Norfolk. There is some talent on that Tides pitching staff and the Orioles seem to have some of the pitching depth between Triple-A and the majors that they sought over the winter.

Showalter said yesterday that he will feel confident this year that when the Orioles look to Norfolk for a pitcher, that they can get a good one for the staff in Baltimore.

“We’re sending some good pitchers down to Norfolk. It will be fun watching those guys pitch,” Showalter said. “We all get caught up about today, but we are excited about the players in Norfolk this year. The adjustments we make, we’ll feel good about making them with some of the talent we have down below.”

Three of the Orioles full-season minor league clubs play season openers tonight with Norfolk at Charlotte at 7:15 p.m., Harrisburg at Bowie (Double-A) at 7:05 p.m. and Single-A Delmarva at Asheville at 7:05 p.m.. Single-A Frederick opens at home tomorrow against Salem and some diehard fans are doing a doubleheader with the Orioles game followed by the Keys game at night.

Here is what we know about the club’s rotations so far:

Norfolk: Bergesen will start tonight and Tillman tomorrow.

Bowie: Tim Bascom gets the opener tonight followed by Bobby Bundy, Jake Pettit, Cole McCurry and Zach Clark. It appears the McCurry start is tentative and could change. He worked out of the bullpen last year.

Frederick: Kyle Simon, followed by Scott Copeland, Mike Wright, Nate Moreau and Justin Moore.

Delmarva: The Shorebirds are expected to begin with a six-man rotation with Dylan Bundy followed by Tim Berry, Parker Bridwell, Tyler Wilson, Eduardo Rodriguez and Miguel Chalas who will piggy back Bundy tonight and is expected to pitch three innings after Bundy goes three in his pro debut.

I will be at Bowie tonight for the Baysox opener, so look for reports from there later today. I am told to expect to see Jonathan Schoop bat second and Manny Machado fifth in the batting order.

Finally, I am excited to officially announce to you that my radio show is back this year. Each weeknight, beginning with tomorrow, I’ll host the Baltimore Baseball Tonight postgame show from 10 p.m. to midnight on 105.7 The Fan. Click “listen live” on that link to tune in and call in.

It was real fun to host that show last season. We had some lively debates and discussions and that is the place you can go every night to call in on the Orioles. It’s one place on the dial that O’s fans can be heard nightly and I hope the show turns out to be even bigger and better this year.

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