Competition growing for Orioles' rotation

In seeking 'best 25' for roster, Showalter mentions handful of pitchers who could be options to start

Competition growing for Orioles' rotation

SARASOTA, Fla. -- When the Orioles signed free agent Yovani Gallardo in late February, that seemed to set the Baltimore rotation, with Gallardo joining returners Kevin Gausman, Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman. But after a strong relief outing by No. 18 prospect Tyler Wilson on Tuesday, manager Buck Showalter said there is more of a competition there than many had believed.

"A lot of times people want to break with the right 25 instead of the best 25," Showalter said on Wednesday. "We're trying to break with the best 25, but also try to keep the maneuverability available. If it's 50-50, you might take somebody that allows you to maintain your depth."

Spring Training information

It's only Spring Training, but the Orioles entered Wednesday's game against the Pirates with the highest ERA of any team, at 7.11. Tillman battled a hip issue and didn't make his Grapefruit League debut until Tuesday, Gallardo has allowed eight runs in 4 1/3 innings, and Gonzalez has surrendered 14 runs over 5 2/3.

Showalter mentioned not only Wilson but also Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne and Vance Worley as additional options. Worley, who is out of Minor League options, will get the start in Thursday afternoon's split-squad game against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla.

Worth noting

• Left-hander Brian Matusz, who has been rehabbing a strained serratus muscle in his right side, is on track to return to the mound this weekend, according to Showalter. Matusz last pitched on March 2.

Jimmy Paredes (left wrist) still is dealing with a bit of soreness but also is "very close" to returning, Showalter said.

• Dr. James Andrews looked at the MRI results on catcher Matt Wieters' sore right elbow and concurred with the original diagnoses of no structural damage.

Wieters relieved by MRI's encouraging results

• Minor League games officially began on Wednesday, which also means more opportunities for big leaguers to get additional innings or at-bats. For example, closer Zach Britton pitched two frames for Class A Advanced Frederick on Wednesday -- striking out two and allowing two hits over 28 pitches -- and Jimenez is slated to start a Triple-A game on Thursday.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.