Edgin stays in the mix for left-handed relief

SARASOTA, Fla. - Reliever Josh Edgin is expected to leave Orioles camp this week, but not because he’s included among the cuts. It’s probably too early to make a final determination on his status.

Edgin will join his wife for the birth of their child. She’s due on Thursday and the doctor may induce labor.

His baseball life will beckon and he’ll return to the complex with a full heart and the same opportunity to make the club.

Though he hasn’t received much attention, Edgin is in the thick of the competition for second left-hander in the bullpen. Richard Bleier is a lock if he stays healthy. Closer Zach Britton is on the 60-day disabled list.

Edgin, 31, is trying to gain ... wait for it ... an edge with his three scoreless and hitless outings. The only baserunner in three innings came on a walk.

Asked to access his camp so far, Edgin replied, “I’m OK with it.”

Orioles bags.jpgA guy who was designated for assignment by the Mets over the summer, already has endured Tommy John surgery and underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his knee in September isn’t going to get too excited about a handful of exhibition games. He’s able to maintain his delivery while keeping his guard up.

“Just getting my arm back to where it needs to be and trying to put up zeros at the same time and make the team, but it’s going well,” he said. “I feel like it’s going all right.”

Hard-throwing lefty Joely Rodriguez seems to get more attention and Donnie Hart has a track record with the Orioles. Meanwhile, Edgin dresses at a locker at the end of a row nearest the front entrance to the clubhouse while also flying under the radar.

“Just kind of go a day at a time and do what I can each day and see what happens,” he said. “Older guy, so I’ve got to put up numbers or get out, really. I’m just trying to do what I can every time I go out there.”

Including his work in yesterday’s simulated game in Sarasota. Manager Buck Showalter stayed back to watch before making the drive to Fort Myers.

“There’s a reason why he’s been in the big leagues for four or five years,” Showalter said. “A guy who knows his way around relieving. Got a good approach. You can see why the Mets used him for so long. It got to a point where he was a priority for us when he became available. Kind of a guy who fits the mode. Can defend himself against right-handed hitters over a short period of time.

“Wasn’t very happy today with his first inning and wanted to know if he could go back out there and throw 10-12 more. He’s a real competitive guy and he knows when it’s right and when it’s not. He’s a good self-evaluator.”

Edgin can’t quite explain why the Mets let him go after he registered a 3.49 ERA in 177 games with them, had a 3.65 ERA in 46 appearances last summer and has held left-handers to a .223 average. Right-handers hit .254, so he isn’t a liability. But he also had a 1.541 WHIP last year, his strikeouts per nine innings dropped to 6.6 and he lost a little zip on his fastball.

“That’s a question that you’d have to ask the people who made the decisions upstairs, you know?” Edgin said. “I don’t know. I thought I was having a decent year with the Mets last year and stuff happens, so I ended up being a free agent and came here and we’ll see what happens here.”

Why the Orioles? They just felt right to the Lewiston, Pa. native, and his agent, Brian McGinn, offered a strong endorsement.

“It’s kind of closer to home, I guess, but the biggest appeal at the time that I signed, there wasn’t a ton of left-handed depth here, so that was an appeal,” Edgin said. “Obviously, they picked up some guys and this and that, but it is what it is. Black and orange are good colors.

“But yeah, to be able to play anywhere is kind of an appeal, but when the Orioles called, it was kind of early and my wife and I were just talking and we thought it was a good fit.”

The team’s exuberance when it comes to shuttling relievers back and forth also factored into the decision.

“Yeah, that was part of what my agent said, too,” Edgin recalled. “He said, ‘Hey, just do the best you can and don’t get discouraged. Just give it all you’ve got,’ so that’s kind of what we’re going with.”

They also talked about Showalter’s handling of bullpens and how he’s careful not to burn out his relievers.

“The situation felt right,” Edgin said, “so we’re kind of running with it.”

Showalter believes the Orioles have more lefty specialist options in camp than in previous years. Rodriguez hasn’t been charged with a run in four outings over 4 1/3 innings, though he let three inherited runners score yesterday on Joe Mauer’s double. Hart hasn’t allowed a run in his last two appearances after surrendering two in his debut, and he’s struck out five batters in three innings.

“A guy like Joely, you look at the track record and what you’re seeing here are two different things, OK? So you just want to know,” Showalter said.

“He’s 26 and he’s pitched a lot of baseball, but what you’re seeing here so far doesn’t really fit the track record. A lot of times guy this age start kind of figuring it out. You’ve got to be careful about the spring. That’s why a guy like Edgin’s got a little more of a track record of success up here. But Joely’s showing some things that maybe he’s grasping things. I know Roger (McDowell) and Alan (Mills) have been working with him on some things.

“Each outing will get a little bit more of a microscope on it. He knows that. As those days start dwindling down. Usually it shows up one way or the other.

“Got a pretty good feel what Donnie’s going to do.”

The Orioles reassigned left-hander Andrew Faulkner to minor league camp yesterday, but he could work into their summer plans. Left-handers have hit .167/.242/.200 against him in the majors and they posted a .208 average last summer at Triple-A Norfolk.

“Faulkner’s about as good as we have left on left potentially,” Showalter said. “Just when he gets a little bit better command. You see how good his command is with left-handers and how tough an at-bat he is, and then the right-handers in between, it’s just something ...

“He’s got a chance to help us this year. He’s a tough at-bat for left-handed hitters.”

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