Britton confirmed for Tuesday, Matusz not candidate for Wednesday

The Orioles’ rotation for the series in Minnesota that begins tomorrow will not include left-hander Brian Matusz.

Chris Tillman will start tomorrow after making it through yesterday’s bullpen session without a recurrence of the back spasms that flared up on Thursday. Manager Buck Showalter confirmed that Zach Britton will start Tuesday, marking the left-hander’s first appearance in the majors this season. However, Showalter eliminated Matusz from consideration for Wednesday’s assignment.

Matusz will take his scheduled turn today at Triple-A Norfolk, leaving Wednesday’s starter in Minnesota as TBA. Tommy Hunter would be working on normal rest after pitching on Friday, when he allowed four runs in 7 1/3 innings.

britton-in-new-hat-sidebar.jpgThe club will wait until Hunter throws a bullpen session today before making a decision.

Steve Johnson, recalled today, is an option if he’s not needed in long relief today. However, he’s also a candidate to be sent down after today’s game, since the Orioles need to create room for Tillman on the 25-man roster.

Miguel Socolovich, who made his major league debut yesterday in relief, also is a consideration.

Jason Berken isn’t a candidate because he threw seven innings last night at Norfolk.

Showalter spent about 45 minutes talking to Tides manager Ron Johnson, pitching coach Mike Griffin and director of pitching development Rick Peterson before deciding that Matusz needs more time in the minors. Matusz tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout in his first start with Norfolk, but reports indicated that he wasn’t particularly sharp until the last five innings.

The Orioles don’t want to rush Matusz back to the majors after one start.

In other news, Showalter said he doesn’t want to throw a “wet blanket” over Jason Hammel’s estimation that he could only miss three to four weeks after undergoing surgery tomorrow on his right knee, but that’s probably an optimistic projection. Showalter would be thrilled to get Hammel back at the beginning of September.

The Orioles will find out tomorrow afternoon whether left-hander Dana Eveland and catcher Ronny Paulino cleared waivers. They can refuse their outright assignments, but the club expects them to accept if they’re not claimed.

Showalter has recommended that infielder Ryan Flaherty play winter ball so that the Rule 5 pick can “catch up on his at-bats.” Flaherty didn’t have any plans this winter. He does now.

Nothing new on second baseman Brian Roberts, who hasn’t decided whether to undergo hip surgery.

Reliever Stu Pomeranz was supposed to begin an injury-rehab assignment today, but his back flared up. He’s going to wait a day or two for the discomfort to subside.

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