Orioles re-sign Hendrickson, add Pineiro for depth
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles agreed to terms on Minor League deals with pitchers Mark Hendrickson and Joel Pineiro on Monday as the organization continues to add depth one week before the first wave of players report to Sarasota, Fla., for Spring Training.
Hendrickson's deal includes an invitation to big league camp, while Pineiro -- a re-signing -- will be assigned to Minor League camp, a source confirmed.
Hendrickson, who is 6-foot-9, has been tinkering with arm angles and is now using a sidearm delivery that he has picked up relatively quickly. The veteran lefty threw for the O's during their recent minicamp, and pitching coaching Rick Adair said at FanFest that Hendrickson presented an intriguing option.
"[I'm] a 38-year-old mind but a 20-year-old sponge right now as far as being open and willing to say, 'Hey, teach me whatever,'" Hendrickson said of his new delivery. "Let's work at this and see how good I can be doing something a little different."
Hendrickson, who will fight for a bullpen spot this spring, pitched parts of three seasons with the Orioles, going 8-11 with a 4.80 ERA in 113 games. A well-liked veteran, Hendrickson admitted that while he never retired, throwing with a traditional motion had gotten "a little stale." The 38-year-old last pitched in the Majors in 2011, appearing in eight games with Baltimore and allowing seven runs and 15 hits in 11 innings. He also made 24 appearances at Triple-A Norfolk that season.
The 34-year-old Pineiro pitched briefly for Norfolk last year before undergoing surgery to repair a SLAP tear in his right shoulder in July. He appeared in just five games after latching on in the O's organization -- he was released by the Phillies in March -- and last pitched in the Majors for the Angels in 2011. The Baltimore Sun first reported Pineiro's deal with Baltimore. Had he not gotten injured, there was a good chance the righty would have been promoted last season. The organization was close several times to calling up Pineiro before he was shut down due to the injury.
Monday's signings further added depth to an O's organization that, under executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, has made it a priority to stockpile arms. The O's agreed to terms with free-agent starter Jair Jurrjens on Jan. 25, and the deal is expected to become official within the next day or two. The rotation candidates are in double digits, although several pitchers could be shifted to the bullpen if they don't win a spot.
Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman are favorites for four of the five spots, with Jurrjens, Steve Johnson, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and Tommy Hunter all competing to make the rotation during Spring Training. Matusz and Hunter have thrived in relief and could be candidates for the 'pen, while Rule 5 Draft pick T.J. McFarland, a lefty, will also be looked at as a starter in a camp that will features highly regarded pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.
Bundy and Gausman, ranked Nos. 2 and 37, respectively, on MLB.com's list of the game's Top 100 Prospects, aren't expected to make the Opening Day roster, but they aren't far off, either. Duquette has indicated several times this offseason that a promotion to Baltimore during 2013 isn't out of the question. Tsuyoshi Wada, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, will also be in camp, although he won't be far enough along to be considered until at least a month or two into the season.