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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles will need to be creative with their pitching structure this season

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Adam Jones talks about returning to Baltimore, Hunter Harvey needs to rebound, and the O’s have questions on the mound.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

The pitchers- and catchers-only portion of spring training is nearly complete. Some position players have already reported, and the rest will start to trickle in over the weekend ahead of the first full squad workout on Monday. While there will be battles all over the diamond, the biggest question marks for the Orioles remain on the mound.

John Means is the staff ace and likely to start on Opening Day barring any unforeseen circumstances. Behind him, though, things get iffy.

By now you know the names. It’s a mix of youngsters and over-the-hill veterans that should make for some interesting storylines but ugly scorelines. It all seems headed for a situation in which Brandon Hyde won’t be able to build a traditional five-man rotation and count on those same guys to head to the hill each week.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Orioles are at a good point in their rebuild where they could stand to experiment and see if there are certain strategies they could implement long term. That could include an occasional opener approach or possibly handcuffing two pitchers together in place of a traditional starter.

However it shakes out, the starting pitching will be the storyline taking up most column inches in the approach to Opening Day, but the situation may not be fully settled until the regular season is in full swing.

Links

Former Orioles outfielder Adam Jones still has Baltimore on his mind | The Baltimore Sun
Adam Jones was raising some eyebrows on social media, saying he would be open to a role with the Orioles in the dugout or the warehouse at some point in the future. Who knows how serious he was being, but it would be neat to have Jones involved with the organization at some point when his playing career has concluded.

Hunter Harvey wants to be a full-time worker in Orioles’ bullpen | Baltimore Baseball
This could be a big season for Hunter Harvey. He has oodles or talent, but he needs to stay on the field. If he does, the O’s bullpen has a chance to be pretty darn good.

Hyde on latest camp arrivals, Rule 5 pitchers and more | School of Roch
If ever there was a season in which the Orioles truly needed a Rule 5 pick pitcher, this is it. The team does have options on the mound, but none of them are sure things.

More with Chris Holt and another look at minor league schedules | Steve Melewski
If the Orioles pitching staff does turn things around at the big league level over the next couple of seasons, Chris Holt will be a big reason why it happened. Ever since Mike Elias added him to the organization as the director of pitching, the club’s minor leaguers have seen their strikeout numbers jump and prospects like Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall have had their stock rise.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Julio Borbón turns 35. The outfielder is better known for his time with the Rangers, but the former first-round pick wrapped up his career with six games on the 2016 Orioles.

The only other former Oriole born on this day is Jim Wilson. The righty spent parts of two seasons in Baltimore between 1955 and 1956. He made the all-star team both seasons despite losing a league-worst 18 games in ‘55.

This day in history

2016 - The Orioles agree to a three-contract worth $35 million with right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo. However, following the physical, the deal is altered to two years and $22 million.