What Role Will Troy Patton Play For Orioles?
By Jim Henneman
The overflow crowd in the scouts' section of Ed Smith Stadium has not been lost on Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
"We've got a lot of guys who are out of options," Showalter said after the O's 2-1 win over the Atlanta Braves Thursday afternoon. "That's why you see so many of them at these games."
One of those out of options is left-hander Troy Patton, who pitched the ninth inning and was credited with the save. The statistic is meaningless at this stage of the proceedings, but where Patton was used might not be.
Considered a starting pitcher throughout most of his career, Patton was the centerpiece of the Miguel Tejada trade to the Houston Astros after the 2007 season. The O's knew they were getting somewhat damaged goods, because Patton had undergone shoulder surgery, but thought he was worth a gamble and they were looking to plug holes in their starting rotation.
Baltimore's patience may be ready to pay off -- but don't expect to see Patton in the starting rotation anytime soon. But you might see him in various relief roles out of the bullpen.
"You can see his velocity back up there (to where it once was)," Showalter said. "He can be used against left-handers, but he's also shown the ability to get right-handers out."
Patton hit 91 mph on the radar gun while recording a pair of strikeouts during his three-batter appearance Thursday. At the quarter-pole of spring training, he appears to be a leader in the clubhouse for a spot on the left-handed side of the bullpen.
Posted March 8, 2012