Strong start moves Wright onto rotation radar

Righty throws 5 scoreless in start versus Twins

Strong start moves Wright onto rotation radar

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Earlier this week, Orioles manager Buck Showalter mentioned there was more competition for the team's starting rotation than most people thought. On Thursday night, Mike Wright stated his case for being part of that competition.

The right-hander got the start for a split squad of Orioles against the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium and tossed five efficient, scoreless innings in a 4-1 win.

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"Everything's a competition," Wright, 26, said. "Even if there was five set spots [in the rotation], there's no telling what happens. So for me not to come out here and compete would be not good for myself or the team. I was coming out here to compete ever since Day 1, so I don't think anything's changed, even though [Showalter is] bringing it to light now."

Wright had allowed seven earned runs over 6 2/3 innings in his previous three spring outings. But on Thursday, he limited the Twins to four singles, walked nobody, struck out two and threw 43 of 63 pitches for strikes. It was the first time this spring an Orioles pitcher made it past four innings.

Top Prospects: Wright, BAL

While Wright thought he also had pitched well in the previous starts, he admitted it was nice to have the stat line to match.

"Usually the guys that are working on stuff [in Spring Training], they have a spot," Wright said. "And I don't have a guaranteed spot, so to get the results, it's huge, because even though you're doing your part and making your pitches, if you're giving up runs, it doesn't look good to put you on the roster. So to get the results, it's good for confidence and it makes me feel better going home tonight."

Wright believes he's had the best slider of his career this spring, and Showalter liked how he attacked the strike zone, combining good stuff with "pitchability."

While it's been a rough Grapefruit League for Orioles pitchers in general, strong outings by Tyler Wilson and Wright this week have given the O's manager more confidence that his club will enter the season with solid rotation depth.

"I felt like we had the potential to come out of here feeling that way, and they've kind of reaffirmed that," Showalter said.

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.