The Orioles’ future plans for left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada remain up in the air. I hope my flight to Minnesota this morning does the same.
We know that Wada will make another start today at extended spring training. Then he’s expected to go on an injury-rehab assignment, which can last up to 30 days for a pitcher.
Wada can’t be optioned to the minors without his approval. It’s part of the two-year, $8.15 million contract he signed on Dec. 14, 2011.
Up to this point, the Orioles haven’t considered Wada for a bullpen role. He’s viewed as a starter, which gets complicated if Freddy Garcia keeps limiting his glitches to one inning.
Also, Jair Jurrens’ opt-out date is June 15. The Orioles may want to take a look at him, as they’ve done with Garcia.
Steve Johnson could complicate matters even more if he has a strong outing on Saturday and earns more starts.
OK, it’s a pleasant problem. Too many starters? Where do you sign up?
It’s always possible that an injury opens a spot for Wada. I mean, who expected Miguel Gonzalez to develop a blister on this thumb?
Even if the Orioles considered Wada for a bullpen role, it would be difficult to make room for him. They already have three left-handers in Brian Matusz, Troy Patton and T.J. McFarland.
McFarland confirmed last night that he’s still on the team by replacing Garcia.
Patton has generated some trade interest, but the Orioles chose to hold onto him, in part because they need to make sure that McFarland is ready to stay in the majors for the entire season as a Rule 5 pick.
I’m looking forward to actually seeing Wada pitch. I missed his 2012 exhibition start in Orlando because it was a split-squad game and I stayed back in Sarasota. He made one start at Triple-A Norfolk before undergoing ligament-reconstructive surgery on his left elbow, and I was with the Orioles in Chicago.
I’ve seen him throw bullpen sessions in Sarasota before the surgery. I’ve seen him throw off half mounds and regular mounds. Now I’m ready to watch him pitch in a regular season game.
How that’s going to happen is another matter.