Spring Training news & notes 3/24 (updated)

*The Orioles acquired right-handed pitcher Julio Rodriguez from the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon in exchange for outfielder Ronnie Welty.

Rodriguez is a 22-year-old prospect who went 7-7 with a 4.32 ERA for Double-A Reading last year, allowing  121 hits and 76 walks with 136 strikeouts over 134 innings. He is expected to start the season at the Orioles’ Double-A affiliate in Bowie, Md.

“He has all the ingredients you look for in a young pitcher,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Rodriguez. “Size, arm, stuff. And he has the results, also.”

Rodriguez pitched in the Futures Game last year and was named to the Eastern League All-Star team. He was the Phillies 17th-best prospect in 2011, according to Baseball America, and did not appear in the organization’s top 30 last  year.

*As expected, manager Buck Showalter wouldn’t bite when asked if the team had decided Jake Arrieta –who pitch in a Minor League game on Tuesday– was the fifth starter.

“No,” said Showalter, who continues to  keep the competition among five guys: Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Steve Johnson, T.J. McFarland and Jair Jurrjens.

Will it be Arrieta? Seems like it right now. But it’s a big start for Matusz this afternoon and the Orioles aren’t expected to make any definitive decision on the fifth starter –at least publicly– until the final days of spring.

Speaking of Jurrjens he threw a side session at the team’s complex today –along with Jason Hammel, Tommy Hunter and Kevin Gausman — and the right-hander continues to impress.

“Jurrjens has come a long way with some of the strength stuff and whatever,” Showalter said. “He seems to be…he’s got a little better base, he’s rotating on a little more. When he first got here his recovery was a challenge the next day. It’s not much of an issue now. A lot of the stuff they are doing has done good. There’s nobody in our camp that has his track record at 27 as far as wins and losses and stuff.”

Jurrjens has an outside shot of breaking camp with the team and will most likely be in Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation, but he could certainly be an option for the big-league camp sooner rather than later. His opt-out clause isn’t for a few months and the organization has been encouraged with his recent starts after a shaky first few Grapefruit League games.

Alexi Casilla SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Nolan Reimold DH
Wilson Betemit 3B
Jason Pridie RF
Trayvon Robinson LF
Travis Ishikawa 1B
Taylor Teagarden C
Chris Dickerson CF

Brian Matusz LHP

Starling Marte LF
Russell Martin C
Andrew McCutchen CF
Gaby Sanchez 1B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Neil Walker 2B
Jose Tabata RF
James McDonald SS

Chris Leroux RHP


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