Sifting through the options for Wednesday's starter

As soon as manager Buck Showalter received yesterday's weather report, he began to consider his options for a Wednesday night starter against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Showalter anticipated a postponement last night and a doubleheader today, which will require the club to find a starter from outside their current five-man rotation. They're considering all the possibilities at Triple-A Norfolk, which also was rained out last night.

As I wrote this morning, Josh Stinson would have been working on normal rest, but his start last night got washed away. He's pitching in today's doubleheader against Durham. Left-hander Zach Britton would be working on an extra days' rest after pitching Thursday, and he's allowed one earned run in each of his last two starts.

Britton is my guess.

Freddy Garcia is scheduled to start Tuesday for Norfolk. He isn't on the 40-man roster, so purchasing his contract would require a corresponding move.

Steve Johnson isn't a consideration. His first injury-rehab start with Norfolk is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Charlotte.

Showalter would rather not pitch Jason Hammel or Wei-Yin Chen on short rest.

Showalter carries a card with him that details when each pitcher at Norfolk and Double-A Bowie made their last start and threw their most recent bullpen session, how many pitches they threw and when they're projected to start again.

"Last night, it was just a matter of, here's our options, here's who isn't an option," Showalter said. "I'm sure that there will be some communication in the dugout today during the first game. This guy can go ahead and pitch. This guy, hold him out. That type of stuff. We did it all year last year.

"We have options lined up and there are multiple options."

The Orioles could dip into their bullpen and use Tommy Hunter or Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland. Hunter, however, is 2-4 with a 6.29 ERA in 14 career games against the Blue Jays, with 71 hits and 17 home runs allowed in 58 2/3 innings.

Showalter said the club still projects Brian Matusz as a future starter, but he seems inclined right now to keep the left-hander in a relief role.

"We still think he has that potential," Showalter said. "Right now, he's in our bullpen. He's not so far removed from the innings he pitched (in spring training) to not be an option, but I think replacing him... I really wouldn't want to get him thinking about that. He's pitching real well out of our bullpen right now.

"I would be less than honest if I said his name doesn't come up when we talk about potential guys, but you're robbing from Peter to pay Paul. I still think that's got a chance to happen in his career, maybe sooner rather than later."

Meanwhile, Norfolk first baseman Travis Ishikawa is approaching the date when he can opt-out of his contract. He's hitting .208/.296/.271 with two RBIs in 13 games.

Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia, playing in his first game last night with Bowie, had two hits and three RBIs after starting out 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

The Baysox were in Akron and there was about 20-degree wind chill factor, Showalter said.

"I guess he warmed up," Showalter said. "When you think about it, the kid's from Cuba, he finally gets out of Sarasota and he goes to Akron and it's frostbite. I think it's a lot better than Haiti though. He's OK with it."

The Orioles have signed infielder Paco Figueroa from the independent Atlantic League, according to Baseball America's Matt Eddy.

The Orioles selected Figueroa in the ninth round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Miami and he spent six years in the organization. His brother, Danny, also played in the Orioles' system after being drafted in 2005.

Paco played for Team Spain in the World Baseball Classic, and the Orioles watched him during the exhibition game in Sarasota.

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