More pregame notes and quotes

Orioles manager Buck Showalter explained to reporters today why the club optioned left-hander Zach Britton to Aberdeen following last night's abbreviated start.

Britton allowed four runs in the first inning in Cleveland and was done after 2 1/3.

"With the limited number of pitches, 50-ish, he could pitch Sunday (for Aberdeen)," Showalter said. "If they win the first round, they're off Monday. He's eligible to pitch there. That's another good thing about having clubs in the playoffs.

"I'd like to get that taste out of his mouth if I could. He's going to see how he feels tomorrow and talk about Sunday. Hopefully, Sunday or Tuesday."

Giving Britton another start with the Orioles wasn't a consideration.

"No," Showalter said. "Zach came off two or three good outings (at Triple-A Norfolk), especially the last one. If we had the luxury of a lot more games, it might be a little different situation.

"Zach feels as good physically as he has in a long time. Kind of got in his own way last night. Just want to get the ball back in his hand as soon as I can. It wouldn't be here physically for a while, and it wouldn't probably be as a starter here."

Britton will be out of minor league options next year.

"I have no doubt he's going to come in and have a great spring next year," Showalter said. "He's in a good situation career-wise next spring, a lot like (Chris) Tillman. Just want him to come to spring training like he's got three options, just like Tilly did."

Will Britton resurface with the Orioles this month?

"We'll see," Showalter replied. "We could bring him back here or we could send him to Sarasota. Either one."

Jason Hammel was activated from the disabled list. He's listed among the relievers, but he's not ready to pitch after starting Tuesday night in Aberdeen.

"You probably won't see him physically available until Saturday. In an emergency, maybe Friday," Showalter said. "I'm going to talk to him a little more in detail today during batting practice about how he feels and what our plans are. Some of it depends on what he has to say, too.

"Obviously, he's pitched well as a starter at times, and for the most part pitched real well for Colorado out the 'pen before we acquired him. So, it's good to have a couple of ways to go with that."

Steve Johnson was recalled today after reporting to the instructional league in Sarasota. He's in the bullpen, but he could make a start down the road.

"Steve was in Sarasota for a day and we brought him back to pitch in case we need him," Showalter said. "Obviously, he's an option to go either way. He's had four days off. This would be his normal throw day."

Nick Markakis is out of the lineup tonight, and not for health reasons.

"He's fine," Showalter said. "I talked to him a little bit on the plane last night. Or a lot of it. It's my idea.

"I asked him to get here later. I don't want him taking batting practice, I don't want him watching video. I want him to stroll out about game time. I want him to have a mental day off.

"Some guys don't wear their emotions necessarily on their sleeve, like Nick. Sometimes they're the most caring and take it the most internally, but I think it's been frustrating for him not being able to contribute at a level that we know he's capable of. It's an important time of year, so he really needs a back-off day, and we'll see if one is enough."

Steve Pearce remains on the disabled list with left wrist tendinitis, but he's improving and should be allowed to swing a bat in the next few days.

"Stevie's doing well," Showalter said. "I'm hoping he's back with us on the 12th. We'll see how that goes physically."

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