Pelzer's Place May Be In O's Bullpen





BALTIMORE—The Orioles made it through the major league Rule 5 draft without losing reliever Wynn Pelzer, which came as a surprise to many in the industry.

Pelzer, acquired from the Padres in the Miguel Tejada trade last year, figured to be one of the most vulnerable prospects that the Orioles left exposed, but teams passed on him. However, he stays in the organization and, quite possibly, in their future plans for their bullpen.

"I'm pretty sure he was a closer in college and the Padres moved him into a starting role," Double-A Bowie pitching coach Kennie Steenstra said. "He was starting in the Texas League and had just moved to the bullpen when we got him in the trade. It's something he's done in the past."

Pelzer, 24, appeared in 10 games with Bowie, going 1-0, 4.50 in 20 innings. He allowed 24 hits, walked seven and struck out 20.

"We used him mainly in the sixth, seventh and eighth," Steenstra said. "It's hard to say what he'll fall into down the line. I'd like to get a little bit better read on him and see what he looks like on a more consistent basis. He's got the stuff to be a back-end guy. I'm not sure about the ninth inning, but we'll see."

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Pelzer went a combined 7-9, 4.25 with 63 walks and 103 strikeouts in 114 innings at the Double-A level last season. He made 19 starts among his 32 appearances. Pelzer logged an additional 11 innings in the Arizona Fall League, going 0-0, 2.45. He held opponents to a .211 average, but his control remained an issue. Pelzer walked 12 batters and struck out nine.

"His stuff's good," Steenstra said. "He has a nice sinker. He throws in the low 90s, up to 93, 94 (mph) with movement. All three pitches, including his slider and changeup, are good as well. It's a matter of harnessing them and being able to throw all three for strikes. It's a matter of being able to repeat his delivery.

"He's a funky guy, with a lot of movement in his body. That's one of the things we hope he can iron out. The stuff's there. He just has to show more consistency."

Bird Seed

• The Orioles re-signed lefthanders Alberto Castillo and Chris George and righthander Jose Diaz to minor league contracts. Castillo has spent parts of three seasons with the Orioles, going 2-0, 4.81 in 49 innings. He went 1-2, 4.54 in 40 innings at Triple-A Norfolk last season.

• The Orioles also re-signed catcher Steven Lerud to a minor league deal. Lerud batted .190/.316/.351 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 174 at-bats between Norfolk and Bowie.