Orioles left-handed reliever Troy Patton was suspended 25 games on Friday for a positive test of amphetamines. The suspension will be effective for the first 25 games of the season.
The 28-year-old Patton was 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 56 games last season. Patton, who was acquired from Houston in the Miguel Tejada trade on Dec. 12, 2007, can be with the team during spring training.
"We were disappointed to learn of Troy Patton's suspension," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a conference call on Friday afternoon.
Patton was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol in Houston in Jan. 2011. He did not return a call for comment.
Without Patton for the first month of the season, the Orioles will be forced to rely on left-hander Brian Matusz. Besides Matusz, the Orioles have T.J. McFarland, a Rule 5 draftee from last season who originally was expected to start the season in the minors.
From the left side, the Orioles also have Mike Belfiore, who pitched in one game last season, Chris Jones, who was acquired from Atlanta last April and the newly signed Kelvim De La Cruz.
Zach Britton, who is out of options, could also be switched to the bullpen. He has some experience pitching in relief.