Left-hander Zach Britton will start Tuesday night against the Rangers, and Wei-Yin Chen confirmed that he’s coming off the disabled list to start Wednesday night. Miguel Gonzalez will close out the series Thursday night.
Britton has allowed seven earned runs in 23 innings over four starts since being recalled.
“I feel good,” he said. “I had a good bullpen side, and I think staying on five days kind of keeps you on rhythm a little bit, which is nice. Obviously, we know Chen’s coming back, so I didn’t know when it was going to be. It’s nice to kind of stay in a routine and hopefully go out there and do what I’ve been doing, staying consistent and keeping my pitch count down and getting ground balls.”
Britton found out today that he would start Tuesday night.
“I’m sure there was a lot of stuff going into it,” he said. “Obviously, we had to see how that series in New York played out. I just stayed ready, acted like I was throwing tomorrow and if anything changed, I would adjust accordingly.”
Britton has done the math. He knows that Chen’s activation gives manager Buck Showalter six starters as we approach the All-Star break. Showalter said the club will go back to a five-man rotation to begin the second half.
Britton could be optioned Wednesday to make room for Chen on the 25-man roster, allowing him to continue pitching at Triple-A Norfolk during the break. Chris Tillman would start Friday night against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards, followed by Jason Hammel on Saturday and Scott Feldman on Sunday.
“It’s crossed my mind,” Britton said. “I know I’m giving the team an opportunity to win, whether it’s in the rotation or it’s in the bullpen. I know I can help the team win. It’s just a matter of finding a role. But there might not be one. Unfortunately, I do have an option left and that can kind of be used against you sometimes, but it’s not something that I worry about too much. As long as I’m pitching well, I know good things are going to happen.”
Chen made two rehab starts at Double-A Bowie and tossed seven scoreless innings in his last outing. He hasn’t started for the Orioles since May 12 in Minnesota.
“I’m not too excited or anything,” Chen said through interpreter Tim Lin. “I’ve been preparing for this start for so long and I’m ready to go. Right now, I’m just happy to help the team try to win on Wednesday.”
In other news, Steve Johnson (oblique) threw 35 pitches off a mound today in Sarasota and said he felt great, with much better command of all his pitches.
I wrote earlier today that Steve Pearce, on the disabled list with left wrist tendinitis, hasn’t been cleared for baseball activities. He continues to receive treatment, and Showalter said Pearce should be ready to swing a bat “before too long.”
Single-A Frederick first baseman Christian Walker was named the Carolina League’s Player of the Week after going 9-for-24 with five doubles two homers and four RBIs.
Showalter was asked to name his favorite Manny Machado play. He replied that he hopes it hasn’t happened yet.
Said Showalter: “I hope it’s the one where he catches the last out of the World Series.”