Startup Resumes His Career With Orioles

SARASOTA, FLA.—Will Startup could be nothing more than lefthanded bullpen depth in the Orioles farm system. Or maybe he'll turn out to be a whole lot more.

There's plenty of time to find out.

The Orioles signed Startup, 25, to a minor league contract over the winter after the Padres released him. He didn't receive a spring training invitation.

Originally a fifth-round pick by the Braves in 2005, Startup reached Triple-A in 2006 but has yet to break through to the big leagues. He then missed the entire 2008 season and most of 2009 after having Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.

"Our professional scouts had very good recommendations on him over the years," farm director David Stockstill said. "They've had him rated as a possible good major league pitcher before the injury."

The Orioles watched Startup throw in January and noted that his arm was free and easy. At that point, the decision was made to offer him a contract.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Startup is 15-6, 2.70 in four seasons. He allowed one run and four hits in four innings with Triple-A Portland last year before the Padres cut him loose.

"He's healthy now and we felt this was a good chance to bring him into (minor league) camp and see where he's at," Stockstill said. "And if he's not ready to go north, we can have him stay in Sarasota."

The initial plan is for Startup, who pitched at the University of Georgia, to eventually report to Double-A Bowie.

Organizational depth?

"It might be more than that," Stockstill said, smiling.

"We hope it's more than that."

Bird Seed

• Infielder Justin Turner has been told that he'll play third base, second base and shortstop in spring training. Turner, who batted .300/.362/.388 in 387 at-bats at Triple-A Norfolk last season, is competing with Robert Andino for the utility job.

• Third baseman Josh Bell, the top position prospect in the organization, made a good early impression on manager Dave Trembley. "He's a big man, but he must have worked real hard," Trembley said. "He came in lean. He looks great. He looks in good shape. He's got power from both sides of the plate. Doesn't swing hard. Easy, easy swing."