FORT MYERS, Fla. – Mike Belfiore wasn’t expecting to get in Thursday’s game so quickly. However, after Jair Jurrjens struggled through a long first inning, manager Buck Showalter called on Belfiore.
In his first spring training with the Orioles, Belfiore got to pitch the second and third innings against the Minnesota Twins. He allowed two runs and three hits and a walk in his second appearance. In his first outing last Sunday, Belfiore got the win against Toronto with two perfect innings.
Belfiore is 24, and in 2009, was a first-round draft choice of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Last year, he was acquired by Baltimore as the player to be named later in the Josh Bell deal.
In his first three years in Arizona’s organization, Belfiore was just 9-16. He was a relief pitcher converted to a starter.
“It wasn’t that I wasn’t getting a chance. It was that I wasn’t perfoming to my expectations,” Belfiore said.
The left-hander was added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster over the winter after a 5-1 record with a 2.85 ERA at Bowie.
He doesn’t view fellow left-handers Troy Patton, Brian Matusz and T.J. McFarland as the guys he must beat out.
“My competition is myself and going against those hitters,” Belfiore said. “The only thing I can control is what I do on the field. All the decisions are up to Buck [Showalter] and Mr. Duquette.
Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ executive vice president of baseball operations is very familiar with players who have New England backgrounds. Though Belfiore went to Boston College, he’s from Long Island.
It wasn’t hard to guess his favorite team growing up.
“Do I really want to tell you?” he jokes.
He’s converted his family and friends from Yankees to Orioles fans.
“It’s business now,” Belfiore said. “If I’m playing the Yankees, I make sure they root for me over them.”
Belfiore watched closely from Bowie as he saw players moved through the system and it gave him hope.
“It shows everyone has a chance. Put a couple of years together and you go anywhere,” Belfiore said.