SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles will finally get their first look at Andrew Cashner in Grapefruit League action March 11.
So far, Casher, the right-hander who signed a two-year, $16 million contract Feb. 15, has only pitched in two simulated games on the back fields of the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
"This is by design," he said. "I think this has been a thought-out schedule. I sat down with them and went over it. For me, it's, 'Give the opportunity to those young guys and let me work on stuff that I need to work on for the season,' and let me get ready."
While Cashner and Chris Tillman have yet to pitch a Grapefruit League game -- and Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman have had their most recent action in simulated games -- manager Buck Showalter has had a host of younger players start games.
Miguel Castro, who started for the first time March 9, Nestor Cortes, Hunter Harvey, Mike Wright and Gabriel Ynoa are the young guys Cashner was referring to. Another, Jayson Aquino will start March 10 in place of Ynoa, who will be out two-to-four weeks due to a stress reaction in his legs.
When Cashner and others pitch in simulated games, they have been facing Orioles hitters. But that doesn't mean Cashner is taking it easy.
"These are my teammates," Cashner said. "For me, it's not just a respect thing, but it's a competitive competition. Who wants to go get banged around by your teammates? For me, I like to let them know what's coming, get them ready, just kind of play that game back and forth."
Cashner, who went 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA with the Texas Rangers last year, seems to have bonded with Bundy, Gausman and Tillman. When Cashner threw his first bullpen, Bundy and Gausman made it a point to watch.
"I think it's kind of everywhere you go as far as your starters, you try to stick together," Cashner said.
"It's going to be a long season as a group of five, [plus] the guys that are going to come up and help us. I think it's important to have that chemistry early and kind of get that going and help each other out. I mean, that's the biggest thing, 'cause they're going to help me and I'm going to help them.
"They're going to see things when they pitch or they're going to get a guy out that I can't get out, [I'm going to] talk to them about it."
It's no secret that Cashner is joining a team that's starting pitching left much to be desired in 2017. Orioles starters combined for a 5.70 ERA last season, the worst mark in baseball. But Cashner said he isn't dwelling on last year.
"Honestly, I have no clue what guys did in the rotation here last year," Cashner said. "To me, it's over with. It's a new year. I keep letting [Bundy] know that anytime he says last year, it's over with. This is a new slate, a new group of guys and it's a chance to kind of ride our own boat."
Cashner seems comfortable and ready to help his new team.
"It couldn't be a better fit for me, me as a person, as an individual," Cashner said. "I think there's a lot of like-minded players here -- same things I like to do and same way I think as far as on a baseball field -- and I think we have a lot of just true athletes on this team. I think it's going to be fun to kind of see how we pan out."