Trembley mum on starting rotation
O's manager has better sense of full roster as opener approaches
VIERA, Fla. -- Orioles manager Dave Trembley came to his Thursday media session with a mission in mind, a goal to set the record straight from an interview topic of the day before. Trembley, while willing to talk about his team's progress, wanted to clear the air regarding the Orioles' troubled starting rotation.
And so, after fielding one question, Trembley went into an extended monologue on an unrelated topic.
"I'm not in a position to name who the five starters are, and I won't be in a position to name who the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 are until later in camp," he said. "I won't be in a position until later in camp -- right down to the end -- to name if I'm going with 12 or 13 pitchers. I just want to say that, with all due respect to everyone, because I don't have answers right now. ... We're still in the phase of giving guys opportunities to pitch."
With that off his chest, Trembley was free to discuss the finer points of his team. Baltimore made a concerted effort to shore up the edges of its roster this winter, pursuing depth players like Ty Wigginton and Ryan Freel. And with the regular season just two weeks away, Trembley has a better sense of his roster.
"More depth, more inventory at higher levels of the Minor Leagues," he said. "Better quality of arms that are coming and are going to come here in a hurry. More versatility around the club with Wigginton. We have an everyday shortstop. ... I think offensively we'll be fine. I think our bullpen has some interchangeable pieces. But for me, as with anything else, it's all predicated on your starting pitching. I know that's the biggest question and the big concern, and believe me, it's something that takes up the better part of my days and evenings thinking about it."
Again, the conversation came back to the rotation, a topic that has bedeviled Trembley for much of the spring. The Orioles have been without Jeremy Guthrie for most of the spring, due to his participation in the World Baseball Classic, and veteran Koji Uehara has been slowed by a left hamstring strain.
Furthermore, things have become even more nebulous. The Orioles are evaluating several arms -- such as Adam Eaton, Hayden Penn, David Pauley, Brad Bergesen and Danys Baez -- for back-end rotation slots. Trembley may not want to give daily updates on their progress, but he understands why it's an urgent concern.
"I think a lot of people are in my position. Maybe not so much with the pitching, but with the [Classic]," he said. "I think I'd like to have my team here. I'm honest, I'd like to, but I don't. It's giving some other guys great opportunities to play and to show what they can do. I think it will all work out. I think it will all get settled. It probably is not getting settled as quickly as I would like and as quick as people that follow the Orioles would like.
"I think when all is said and done, the right guys will be in the right spots."
If the Orioles have their way, they may see Guthrie back sooner than expected. Multiple news outlets are reporting that Baltimore has asked its staff ace to return before the next round of the World Baseball Classic concludes, possibly giving the team one less question mark to worry about in the rotation.
Leaving the pitching aside for a moment, Trembley was asked to name some players who have stood out for him this spring. And while doing so, he cautioned that none of these players are stars in the making.
"I'd say [Justin] Turner has really been a guy, a good piece in a trade who has really done great," he said. "Before [Blake] Davis got hurt, I thought he had done a lot for his cause. I think [Brian] Bass has really done a nice job. I hate to single out guys, but those guys have [stood out] for me.
"Justin Christian was a very good acquisition for us. He's a guy that knows how to play, a very good defender, a good runner. [Lou] Montanez has had a very good camp and shown improvement in his defense."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.