DUNEDIN, Fla. -- With Zach Britton on Friday turning in the latest in a series of strong performances from hopeful starters, the Orioles pitching staff is making it difficult for manager Buck Showalter to set his Opening Day rotation.
As Showalter describes it, however, it's a "good difficult."
"I've told you before, many times here it was just the last man standing that called himself a starter," Showalter said. "That's not the case now. I look at it as a good difficult. I've had the bad difficult. Like I've been saying all along, we're looking from within. We like our options from within."
For Britton, who tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed just one hit Friday against the Red Sox, the situation is nothing new. He failed to land a spot in the starting rotation coming out of camp in 2011 but was quickly recalled because of injuries and went on to make 28 starts for the Orioles that season.
" I feel good right now," Britton said. "I knew that -- kind of having had the experience of competing for a spot in 2011 -- I knew that one of the worst things I could possibly do is try to come in in midseason form and try to just blow guys away."
With two weeks left in Spring Training, each of the rotation hopefuls has a couple of appearances left. For now, Showalter is in no hurry to set his rotation -- it is far from a concern, in his eyes.
"I think guys know where the finishline is and the opportunities they're getting," Showalter said. "It happens a lot, this time of spring, the arms start coming on a little bit. I'm not going to over-evaluate it right now, because that's for another time for me personally, but I like where we are with our options."
O's option top prospect Bundy to Double-A
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Prior to Saturday's Grapefruit League game, the Orioles optioned top prospect Dylan Bundy to Double-A Bowie and right-hander Todd Redmond to Triple-A Norfolk. The moves leave the Orioles with 49 players in Major League camp.
Bundy, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, had a 1-1 record to go along with a 1.13 ERA over four appearances this spring. The right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) off six hits, while striking out five and walking six over eight innings.
With just two weeks left in Spring Training and the Orioles beginning to use their starters deeper into games, manager Buck Showalter said the move was simply a result of wanting to get Bundy more innings.
"It's time for him to get stretched out a little bit more, and [innings] aren't here for him," Showalter said. "He's going to start the year in Bowie and go ahead and get that mentality, mindset, adjustment made as soon as possible."
Though Bundy is returning to Bowie while 2012 first-round pick Kevin Gausman (also drafted No. 4 overall) remains in camp, Showalter said the move was not an indication of how the club ranks its top two prospects.
Gausman also pitched in Thursday's contest, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks over 2 2/3 innings in his first spring start. In five appearances, the right-hander has allowed four runs on 10 hits, while striking out 11 and walking six over 10 1/3 innings. He will most likely make at least one more appearance this spring.
"We've had two springs with Dylan; we're pretty familiar with him and where he is," Showalter said. "Obviously we haven't had quite that much time with [Gausman] yet. This is his first Spring Training, and we want to get a little more familiar with him."
Bundy enters the season ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the game.
In 2012, he went 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 23 combined starts between Class A and Double-A before making his highly anticipated big league debut in September. The 20-year-old turned in two scoreless relief appearances, totaling 1 2/3 innings, in the final week of the regular season.
"He's in a really good frame of mind and likes where he is," Showalter said. "He had a good spring. … He's going to be a good one."
Redmond, meanwhile, returns to Triple-A, where he spent all of last season between the Reds and Braves organizations. Taken off waivers by the Orioles this past offseason, the 27-year-old righty went 2-0 with a 5.63 ERA in five appearances this spring.
Jones nears return to Orioles from Classic
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Following Team USA's elimination from the World Baseball Classic on Friday night, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones will rejoin the team Sunday morning in Sarasota, but he will not immediately return to game action.
Jones, who hit .182 (4-for-22) in six games for the United States, will most likely return to the lineup for Wednesday's afternoon contest against the Blue Jays at Ed Smith Stadium. Manager Buck Showalter is not in any hurry to plug him back in, considering Jones -- including his time at the Classic -- has more plate appearances this spring any player in Orioles camp.
"I talked to Adam some this morning, back and forth," Showalter said. "He was up early, boy. He is looking forward to getting back to Sarasota, let's put it that way."
With Jones returning, only two players -- reliever Pedro Strop (Dominican Republic) and infield prospect Jonathan Schoop (Netherlands) -- remain away from camp at the World Baseball Classic.
• Outfielder Nolan Reimold (shoulder soreness) is expected to return to left field Tuesday against the Red Sox.
• Third baseman Danny Valencia, who started Saturday's game against the Blue Jays, recently had a precautionary MRI exam on his right knee after complaining of some tendinitis. The MRI, however, came back clean with only mild inflammation, and Valencia will not miss any time.