SARASOTA, Fla. -- Even with the Nelson Cruz acquisition, can Delmon Young still make the Orioles' roster?
Manager Buck Showalter thinks so.
"He can still make the club," Showalter said after Sunday's game, in which Young had two hits, including a double. "He can still be the DH against left-handed pitching, just like he was before. Nothing's changed there.
"We're still looking for that guy, because Nellie's going to play [in left field] against left-handed pitching, at least."
Young, who also homered in the team's intrasquad game, looked to be a solid candidate to make the club as a non-roster invitee given how well the right-handed hitter does against lefties. But the team's signing of Cruz looked to change things. Was there room for both Young, who owns a .303/.341/.471 line against lefties over his career, and Cruz on the roster? What about Steve Pearce, who can also play first base, and Nolan Reimold? That competition will be monitored all spring, but Young is making a good impression early and Showalter said new Oriole David Lough will be a platoon in left.
"We need to use Nelson's skills to make everybody better," Showalter said. "Right now going in, I don't plan yet on using [Lough] against left-handed pitching. So you'd have a DH spot for a right-handed hitter. He could evolve into that, too, a guy we trust against left-handed pitching. It's also a way to keep everybody involved, too."
The Orioles relied heavily on their regulars last year. They were the first club in the Majors to have seven or more players reach the 140 games played mark last year, and Showalter doesn't want to get into that same rut again in regards to his bench.
"Delmon can hit," Showalter said. "He's probably in as good a shape as he's been in in a long time. You bring in guys who have been around, they know the gig. They're not waiting to get their timing. They come in here with that mentality that every day is a chance to make an impression."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less