NEW YORK - Right-hander Jason Hammel will start Game 5 of the American League Division Series if needed.
Hammel would be working on normal rest after starting Game 1 at Camden Yards and allowing two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The Game 4 starter remains a mystery. Chris Tillman and Joe Saunders followed manager Buck Showalter into the interview room today and claimed that they hadn’t been told who would get Thursday’s assignment.
Showalter has made a decision, but he’s waiting until after tonight’s game to reveal it. Tillman started Wednesday’s regular-season finale against the Rays at Tropicana Field, and Saunders started Friday’s wild card game in Texas.
Tillman is 2-3 with an 8.16 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees, and he’s posted a 9.95 ERA in the Bronx. Saunders has made one career start at Yankee Stadium, back on Aug. 11, 2006, so his 3.00 ERA is outdated and an extremely small sample size.
Wilson Betemit has been serving as the designated hitter in the instructional league, and he’ll play first base and third base on Thursday. The Orioles could add him to their roster if they reach the ALCS.
Showalter said left-hander Brian Matusz will report to spring training as a starting pitcher to build up innings, but he could switch back to a relief role. It’s easier to go in that direction than reliever to starter.
Veteran designated hitter Jim Thome beat Showalter to the ballpark again today, a normal occurrence since he rejoined the team.
“I can’t beat him here,” Showalter said. “He’s something.”
Mike Wright, the Orioles’ third-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, started today for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League and allowed four runs (three earned) and four hits in one inning. He walked one, struck out one and gave up two home runs.