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Aquino impresses in audition, gives O's depth

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

BALTIMORE -- Jayson Aquino was picked for Saturday's start because of an impressive spring, and as manager Buck Showalter aptly put it, the Orioles needed to see what they had in the young left-hander.

If Saturday is any indication, the O's have another solid starting option. Aquino held Boston to two runs -- both of which came on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s homer -- over six innings in his first career start, picking up the win in the 4-2 victory.

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BALTIMORE -- Jayson Aquino was picked for Saturday's start because of an impressive spring, and as manager Buck Showalter aptly put it, the Orioles needed to see what they had in the young left-hander.

If Saturday is any indication, the O's have another solid starting option. Aquino held Boston to two runs -- both of which came on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s homer -- over six innings in his first career start, picking up the win in the 4-2 victory.

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"I think you saw some of the things that we liked about him. He doesn't lack for ... I don't want to say 'confidence.' He's one of those guys who says, 'Here's mine and see what you can do with it. I'm not going to pick around,'" Showalter said of Aquino, who pitched to a 1.20 ERA in six games (one start) this spring. "I wish I could come up with a better phrase, but there's just a personality to his pitching."

Acquired from St. Louis in exchange for cash considerations last April, Aquino started at Double-A Bowie and was promoted to Triple-A in August. He was summoned by the Orioles as part of September's roster expansion and made his second career appearance -- and first with the O's -- on Sept. 12.

Showalter admitted he wasn't overly impressed with what he saw from Aquino in September, but he kept an open mind heading into camp. The 24-year-old lefty pitched well enough to earn a start at the end of spring, and on Saturday, Aquino took another step forward with another opportunity.

"I feel very happy," Aquino said through interpreter Ramon Alarcon. "It's an incredible feeling what I'm feeling right now. I just tried to make my pitches. I was just following the lead of my catcher [Caleb Joseph]. Thank God everything went well."

When Aquino will get another chance is less certain. The O's don't need a fifth starter until May 2, and that could be rehabbing starter Chris Tillman's spot. Baltimore will have to decide what to do with Aquino and Alec Asher, who is currently in the bullpen and made his own impressive spot start in Toronto. For now, a much-maligned Baltimore rotation may have too many good options.

"I like, right now, where we sit depth-wise," Showalter said. "It's a really good problem to have. One we haven't had around here too much."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Jayson Aquino