Orioles vice president Dan Duquette apparently had his doubts about the club’s ability to bring Joe Saunders back to the rotation well before Saunders ended up making a deal with the Mariners earlier last week. So Duquette had made contingency plans.

"I knew it was going to be a challenge to re-sign Joe Saunders, and that's one of the reasons we drafted T.J. McFarland, to have another left-handed starting pitcher, a potential left-handed starting pitcher in camp," Duquette said on WBAL Radio last week, via Roch Kubatko at MASN.

"Joe did a great job for us — stabilized the team, won some games for us down the stretch, made us very competitive in the playoffs. … So I really appreciate the work he did for us, and I want to wish him a lot of good luck.”

Meanwhile, the Orioles’ addition of pitcher Jair Jurrjens remains on hold, with a signing complicated by Jurrjens’ worrisome knee. Kubatko reports the right knee may actually have no cartilage left, which would give you enough problems just walking up and down the aisles at the supermarket, much less trying to be a major-league pitcher.

Presumably, the O’s are working on reducing their contract offer, and Duquette said Jurrjens’ status should be decided by the start of camp, which opens Tuesday when pitchers and catchers report.