SARASOTA, Fla. — Buck Showalter has a hard decision ahead of him. He has to choose a fifth starter, and as he begins his third full season as Baltimore Orioles’ manager, there are some excellent choices.
Showalter has auditioned Jake Arrieta, Steve Johnson, Jair Jurrjens and Brian Matusz for the job. On Friday, it was Zach Britton’s turn, and he allowed just one hit in 3 2-3 innings as the Orioles and Boston Red Sox played to a 3-3 10-inning tie.
“That’s the best he’s thrown this spring. That was impressive,” Showalter said. “He’s real crisp. It’s good to see. Could have gotten deep in the ballgame today.”
With just over two weeks to make the decision, Baltimore’s manager isn’t giving any tips on the outcome.
“I like where we are with our options. It’s intriguing,” Showalter said.
In 2011, Britton was the Orioles’ leading winner with 11 games. Slowed by shoulder soreness last year, the left-hander was 5-3 with a 5.07 ERA.
“I feel good. Slowed at the finish line a little bit, hadn’t gone more than two, so the adrenaline’s pumping a little bit. I tried to overdo it that last inning with the two walks a little bit, but other than that I felt pretty good,” Britton said.
The Red Sox have a game at home against Minnesota on Friday night, and manager John Farrell brought no regulars and only a few players who have a chance at making the roster.
“I don’t think it matters. You can’t control who they bring or who they don’t bring. It’s spring training. There’s obviously going to be guys in there who may be in the big leagues or not, but they all have a bat in their hands, and they all can do damage,” Britton said.