Asher’s next start and Duquette on Álvarez and Jackson

Alec Asher will take his next turn in the rotation and start Thursday night against the Nationals in the makeup game in D.C.

Asher gets an extra day of rest due to Monday’s off-day.

The Orioles had no reason to remove Asher from the rotation after he was charged last night with two runs over 6 1/3 innings for his third quality start in four opportunities.

Catcher Welington Castillo played catch in the outfield today, gradually moving back to expand the distance, while he remains on the disabled list.

The Orioles must decide whether to send Castillo on a brief injury rehab assignment. It’s probably a good idea to have him squat behind the plate for a game or two after sustaining an injury to his groin area.

Pedro-Alvarez-at-bat-white-sidebar.jpgExecutive vice president Dan Duquette provided a brief update on Pedro Álvarez’s contract situation at Triple-A Norfolk. Duquette said he wasn’t going to make it a daily topic of discussion.

Álvarez’s second opt-out date arrived today after the two sides agreed to extend it, and he’s playing right field for Norfolk. In that regard, nothing has changed.

Álvarez wants a major league job and the Orioles have been unable to create a spot for him. They’ve discussed various ways to do it, but Trey Mancini’s emergence and the desire to keep seven relievers are complications.

As I’ve written, the Orioles want to hold onto Álvarez for as long as they can, but he’s free to sign with another club. He’s a nice insurance policy, but he’s also viewed as a player without a position. Another strike against him.

“He’s still on the roster there at Norfolk,” Duquette said. “We had an agreement where he gave us a few more days to see if we could clear a spot for him on the big league roster. And in return for a couple more days we gave him the option of staying with us or if he found a job, to take a job with another major league club.

“He’s still on the Norfolk roster. I can tell you that today, but I’m not going to address it every day because it’s really not fair to the players and the clubs, Norfolk and here. But they gave us a couple more days to see if we could clear a spot. We haven’t succeeded in creating a spot.”

Pitcher Edwin Jackson, used in relief with Norfolk, extended his opt-out through the weekend. Jackson threw three scoreless innings on Wednesday and has a 3.26 ERA 11 appearances and 19 1/3 innings.

“He’s throwing the ball pretty well and he’s given us a little more time, also,” Duquette said.

Álvarez and Jackson can stay for as long as they desire. They’re not forced to leave on a certain date if their contracts aren’t selected.

“It’s kind of open-ended right now because they’ve done the work and they’ve been playing in the organization,” Duquette said. “Obviously, we’d like to have them in the organization, but they would like to be playing in the big leagues and they have experience playing in the big leagues.

“This is how we decided how to manage the relationship right now.”

Asked if anything has changed on the landscape since the Orioles re-signed Álvarez, Duquette replied, “What’s changed is that Mancini has emerged as an everyday player. With Mancini’s emergence as an everyday player, it’s challenging to include a bat on the roster.”

The Orioles won’t eliminate a reliever and go back to a five-man bench.

“The pitching depth is key because on the nights your starter doesn’t go deep into the game, you need a couple other pitchers to finish the game. So we’ve been managing our bullpen with several roster moves back and forth in the minor leagues and the big leagues and we’re going to continue to do that.

“We want to keep our pitchers healthy and see if we can get our starters go a little bit deeper in the game. We’ve had some good outings the last couple nights.”

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