Fort Myers, Fla. -- Last spring, the addition of reliever Troy Patton was one of the Orioles' final roster decisions, and the 27-year-old said being able to contribute a full season has made this year's camp a little less stressful.
"[It was] for my own peace of mind that I did it, for myself, not really to make to this team," said Patton, who is approaching this year's camp as if he needs to win a job. "Just the fact that I was able to compete all season last season. I felt like I belonged in the league last year, and that did a lot for my confidence this season, knowing that what I had last year was enough. And if I can duplicate that, then I can be successful."
Patton went 1-0 with a 2.43 ERA in 54 outings and was often the only lefty in the bullpen, leading to him being used in a lot of different roles and rarely as a strictly situational guy. Manager Buck Showalter has made it no secret he prefers versatility, and Patton knows it's important again this spring to prove he can be effective against lefties and righties in a camp crowded with pitching depth.
"I don't mind competing early, and it's good to practice, too," Patton said. "I like to take [spring outings] seriously from the beginning, so if I need to make adjustments to get better, I can do that toward the end of camp. I treat them all the same, pretty much."
Patton allowed three runs in his first two outings (2 1/3 innings) with six hits and a walk, but he has settled in nicely since, pitching three scoreless innings, including a pair in Friday's 6-3 win over the Pirates.
"I was happy with my location, for the most part, I was throwing strikes. [My] pitch selection was kind of cavalier," Patton said of his early games. "So I've been focusing more on treating it like real situations and throwing pitches that I would [in a game] instead of pitches that I am working on. I'm just going to try to compete and get everyone out instead of touch and feel here."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less