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Non-Roster Invitees To Watch At Orioles' Spring Training

February 5, 2018
The Orioles have invited 19 non-roster players to spring training, and once camp begins in Sarasota, Fla., Feb. 13, there will be a few storylines to keep an eye on.

For starters, this year's lists of non-roster invitees looks far superior to the group the team brought a year ago.
 
None of the pitchers Baltimore signed and invited in 2017 pitched a major league inning for the Orioles, and the two position players they signed during that offseason -- second baseman Johnny Giavotella and first baseman David Washington -- combined for one hit in 16 at-bats.
 
The most noteworthy of the eight position players invited include third baseman Ryan Mountcastle and outfielders Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart.
 
A year ago, catcher Chance Sisco was invited to camp, and he was a September callup.
 
The Orioles aren't sure where Mountcastle, who's played both third base and shortstop in the minors, will end up defensively, but he was impressive for Class-A Frederick last year. Mountcastle hit .314 in 88 games for the Keys but just .222 in 39 games for Double-A Bowie.
 
Mullins hit .265 in 76 games for the Baysox, while Stewart, the team's top draft choice in 2015, hit .278 with 21 home runs and 79 RBIs for Bowie.
 
Showalter has said Mouncastle, Mullins and Stewart will play extensively in Grapefruit League road games this spring.

On the pitching front, the Orioles have invited 11 pitchers who they signed during the winter, and each of them has major league experience.
 
Two left-handed relievers -- Josh Edgin and Andrew Faulkner -- seem to have the best shot at making the team. They'll be competing for a job with incumbent Donnie Hart.
 
Edgin, 31, and is 4-4 with a 3.49 ERA in 177 relief appearances with the New York Mets over five seasons.
 
Faulkner, 25, who was invited to last month's minicamp in Sarasota, has intrigued manager Buck Showalter. He pitched 20 times for the Texas Rangers in 2015 and 2016, recording a 4.41 ERA. He was acquired last April from the Rangers and dropped from the 40-man roster in September, but he re-signed in December.
 
Some of those invited have major league starting experience, including right-hander Asher Wojciechowski, who is 4-4 with a 6.44 ERA in 30 games, 11 starts, with Houston and Cincinnati.
 
Left-hander Jayson Aquino had two starts last year for the Orioles and re-signed with the team. Right-hander Tim Melville had three starts in 2016 and 2017, with the Reds and Twins.
 
Another interesting signing was right-hander Jhan Marinez, who has a 3.43 ERA in 95 games for six major league teams since 2010.
 
Two onetime Orioles farmhands, knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa and left-hander Jason Gurka, have returned to the organization.
 
Other pitchers who have been invited are right-handers Jeff Ferrell, and Perci Garner and left-hander Joely Rodriguez.
 
Rodriguez, who was also at minicamp, has a 5.40 ERA in 38 games with Philadelphia in 2016 and 2017.
 
In the infield, catcher Audry Perez is back for his fourth year in the Orioles' organization. With the Feb. 2 addition of Andrew Susac, the Orioles have four catchers on the 40-man roster (Sisco, Caleb Joseph and Austin Wynns are the others).
 
Utility infielder Ruben Tejada, who hit .230 in 41 games for the Orioles last year, is back. Along with Tejada, infielders Garabez Rosa, Luis Sardinas and Erick Salcedo have also received camp invites.
 
Sardinas and Tejada will compete for the utility role with the recently acquired Engelb Vielma.

Salcedo has been considered by some in the organization to have major league potential. He hit .260 for Bowie in 2017.
 
Rosa is this year's "feel-good" story. He's 28 and has been in the organization since 2007. A veteran of 1,153 minor league games, Rosa has been with the Baysox throughout the last four years and hit .310 with 14 home runs and 91 RBIs in 2017.
 
For several years, Showalter has regularly summoned Rosa from minor league camp as an extra player for Grapefruit League games, and now he has his first official camp invite.

Follow Rich on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Patrick Cavey