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As non-waiver trade deadline nears, Orioles VP Duquette seeks pitching depth

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BALTIMORE - The AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles are seeking to secure a few good arms before Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline.

"We've had conversations with a number of teams and we've been looking for some pitching depth," Dan Duquette, the Orioles vice-president of baseball operations, said Tuesday. "That's primarily what we're focused on."

Baltimore currently has five dependable starters — Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris and Kevin Gausman. Not only that, but Ubaldo Jimenez (ankle sprain) is close to leaving the disabled list.

So Duquette isn't necessarily looking for a front-line starter, primarily because the cost would be too high.

He is more likely to shore up the bullpen. At this point, however, nothing is imminent. If nothing happened at all, Duquette would be fine with the team as it is currently constructed.

"So far, so good," he said. "Every team has strengths and areas we could improve upon. Our team is like that. We have been able to get more consistent starting pitching, which will cover up a lot of areas of your team. We've been able to execute defensively, which has helped us win the close games. This is a good ballclub."

Baltimore started the day with a 2 1/2-game lead over Toronto and a 4 1/2-game advantage over New York. Duquette isn't satisfied, but he isn't going to mortgage the future for a quick fix.

He would rather call upon his minor leaguers down the stretch than deal them away.

"We'd like the star players to come up and make an impact on the team," Duquette said. "In 2012, we brought up Manny (Machado) and he made a difference in the pennant race. In 2014, we've got Kevin Gausman on our team, and we hope he will impact the race. So that's really the first choice, to have those really talented players play for us and prove themselves in the big leagues."

If he can't get a pitcher, Duquette might be in the market for a second baseman or catcher. Rookie second baseman Jonathan Schoop is batting .216, and starting catcher Matt Wieters is out for the year after undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery.

"If you look at it, those are a couple areas where we could improve," Duquette said. "We have the defence. If we could add to our offensive team, that would probably be something we could take a look at."

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