The All-Star break has pretty much ended for the Orioles, who are holding a workout today in Oakland before starting a three-game series on Friday.
There shouldn’t be any news coming out of it, since manager Buck Showalter already announced his second-half rotation on Sunday. Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Kevin Gausman will start against the Athletics, and Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez and Tillman will start against the Angels in the series that follows.
Ubaldo Jimenez will attempt to throw in the bullpen today and again over the weekend. He’s scheduled to pitch for one of the Orioles’ affiliates on July 23 and could return to the rotation after the club is back home on the July 29.
Jimenez apparently is still favoring his right ankle after rolling it in a parking lot. An unfortunate injury, of course, but also timely for a team that otherwise would be saddled with a six-man rotation. Plus, Jimenez has pitched poorly, in case that escaped anyone.
Jimenez posted a 1.82 in 13 starts for the Indians in the second half last season. The Orioles’ schedule may be more challenging, but they’re counting on a repeat performance.
Zach Britton has saved 15 games in 17 opportunities. He’s allowed seven earned runs (nine total) and 30 hits in 48 1/3 innings, with 14 walks and 38 strikeouts. He’s surrendered only two home runs.
He’s been a really, really good closer.
Britton would prefer to be a really, really good starter, but he’s happy in his current role. Probably because he’s thriving in it.
“I’m definitely settling into the role,” he told me during the series against the Nationals in D.C. “I haven’t really thought much about starting. As the season started to get going, I was just more embracing coming out of the bullpen.
“If that’s something they want to revisit this offseason, I guess we’ll sit down and talk about it, but I’m not going to go out and tell them I want to do this or that. I just want to pitch and be successful, whatever role that is. And like I’ve said, they get paid to make those decisions and determine where they see that I fit on this team. And now, it’s in the bullpen. Until something changes or I’m told otherwise, that’s what I’m going to focus on.
“I don’t want to worry about, ‘I want to do this or that.’ I think it makes it a lot easier to just embrace where you’re at and go out there and perform.”
Here’s my question for today: If Britton is equally good in the second half, do you keep him in the bullpen in 2015 or give him a shot in the rotation and find another closer? The free agent market is flooded with them every winter.