July 22, 2017

BALTIMORE (AP) The Baltimore Orioles apparently have no intention of dealing away veteran talent before the non-waiver trade deadline.

At least for now.

Although the Orioles were 46-50 and in fourth place in the AL East before Saturday's game against Houston, vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette believes the team has the potential to make a playoff run.

''The Orioles have had better ballclubs at this stage of the season, but I still have hope for this year's club,'' Duquette said. ''I've got a lot of confidence that the guys that we have can put it together.''

The rumor mill has Baltimore shopping veteran relievers Zach Britton, Brad Brach and Darren O'Day, along with outfielder Seth Smith and catcher Welington Castillo.

But Duquette seems more interested in adding arms rather than giving away veterans for prospects.

''This year we haven't had the starting pitching that we need, but the other elements of our ballclub are intact,'' Duquette said. ''If we can get a little bit stronger pitching and add to the pitching, we can still make a run at this.''

Duquette made the comments while addressing season-ticket holders at the annual ''State of the Orioles'' event prior to Saturday's game.

Baltimore owned the best record in the AL (22-10) on May 9, but not long after that the rotation lost its effectiveness. Dylan Bundy (9-8) is the only starter with a winning record, and three members of the rotation -Kevin Gausman, Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman - have ERAs of 6.11 or higher.

Yet the Orioles started play Saturday just 4 + games behind the Yankees for the second wild-card slot.

''That second wild card gives you a lot of hope,'' Duquette said. ''We're going to see what we can do this week to help our ballclub and strengthen the club so we can give you a contending team year in and year out.''

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