Quick hits from Showalter following Day One of minicamp

SARASOTA, Fla. - Pitcher Chris Tillman, who has a home here, is working out at the Ed Smith Stadium complex after receiving permission from the Orioles.

Tillman is a free agent and manager Buck Showalter expressed interest today in bringing back the veteran right-hander.

Showalter also said he’d like to hold onto free agent outfielder Craig Gentry, whose defense and speed are valuable assets.

Showalter didn’t dismiss the idea of bringing back Pedro Álvarez, but conceded it would be difficult because of the current roster construction. The Orioles need left-handed bats, but can’t easily fit one in the designated hitter slot with Mark Trumbo under contract for two more seasons. The outfield is the most likely place, but Showalter wants plus-defenders.

Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes Jr. already has made a solid impression. Showalter watched him throw and said the left-hander can “spin the ball” and has “an educated hand.” Cortes also drew positive reviews for his intelligence and attitude.

Closer Zach Britton is making good progress following Achilles surgery and is “on schedule,” according to Showalter.

“He’s right where he needs to be,” Showalter said after conferring with team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs.

If spring training started today, the Orioles would have 34 pitchers on their camp roster.

Showalter said Dariel Álvarez and Ryan O’Rourke, recovering from ligament-reconstructive surgeries, “look good” medically. Alvarez could be “a fast mover” once he’s cleared to pitch.

Showalter downplayed the possibility of Hunter Harvey breaking camp with the team, saying it probably won’t have the luxury of stashing him in the bullpen. But he predicts that Harvey will be productive this summer if he stays healthy.

Wright-Delivers-White-Sidebar.jpgMike Wright and Trey Mancini are working out with vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson in California. Tim Beckham is expected to join Anderson later and Trumbo also could show up.

Showalter didn’t want to say much publicly about his plans for Beckham and Manny Machado, assuming the latter isn’t traded. He said discussions and plans are “further along” and the Orioles have a pretty good idea what they’re going to do with the left side of the infield.

Showalter is leaning toward going with a four-man bench. He also said there are no assurances that Anthony Santander, who retains Rule 5 status for the first 44 days of the season, will stick with the club.

With Wright and Gabriel Ynoa out of options, Showalter feels like he’s going to have six Rule 5 picks in camp. He’s including Cortes, Santander and pitchers Pedro Araujo and José Mesa.

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