MLB

Guthrie named Orioles' opening day starter

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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP)

The Baltimore Orioles' rotation is beginning to take shape, starting at the top with right-hander Jeremy Guthrie.

Manager Buck Showalter confirmed Thursday that Guthrie will start on opening night in Tampa Bay on April 1.

''I don't think that's some big secret,'' Showalter said.

It will be the third opening day start in four years for Guthrie, the exception last season when veteran Kevin Millwood received the assignment. Guthrie, a right-hander, went 11-14 with an 3.83 ERA last season.

''It's nice be on the field for the first game of the year,'' Guthrie said. ''That means a lot, to be with your teammates in that first game. I remember watching it last year and saying, 'Man, I really wish I was out there.'''

Left-hander Brian Matusz will start the second game in Tampa Bay, and second-year pitcher Jake Arrieta has been penciled in to pitch the home opener against Detroit on April 4.

''It's a good way to set the tone for the year for the home fans,'' Arrieta said. ''It's going to be a special feeling, stepping on our home field again. Everybody's going to be excited for the 2011 season. I plan on going out there and showing them what we're capable of doing this year.''

The competition for third starter remains open. Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen and Zach Britton are competing for the slot. Bergesen has the edge in experience, but he's got a 5.94 ERA this spring compared to 3.55 for Tillman and 0.64 for the 23-year-old Britton, who has yet to pitch in the majors.

''It's exciting. We're seven days from breaking camp and I'm still here fighting for a spot,'' said Britton, a third-round pick in the 2006 draft. ''Obviously I don't have the experience of the other guys, but I haven't had the opportunity. Until I get that chance, I'm always going to be the guy without experience.''

Justin Duchscherer, who has been bothered by left hip soreness for much of the spring, will probably start the season on the 15-day disabled list. The Orioles hope he can return on April 21 as the fifth starter in the rotation.

''If he stays still on plan and he's able to do all the things that we put out for the month of April ... he should be able to come back to us on the 21st,'' Showalter said. ''He's aware of that, which is about where we need a fifth starter.''

The Orioles will probably need a fifth starter on April 10, too.

''There are three or four options on which way we can go,'' Showalter said. ''We're going to make that call in the near future.''

Duchscherer was signed as a free agent in February. He finished each of the past four seasons on the DL, and now it appears he will start there. The right-hander pitched in only five games last season because of left hip inflammation.

In other news, Rule 5 pick Adrian Rosario cleared waivers and returned to the Milwaukee Brewers. Pat Egan cleared waivers and returned to the Orioles from Milwaukee.

Egan worked 6 1-3 scoreless innings and recorded two saves this spring.

Baltimore also cut third baseman Josh Bell from the major league camp, along with pitchers Chris Jakubauskas, Mike Ballard, Alberto Castillo, Chris George and catcher Michel Hernandez.

Tagged: Orioles, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman, Chris Jakubauskas

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