Showalter continues to seek ways to ignite the offense, which has scored three runs or fewer in 32 games. The Orioles are 8-24 in those games.
The injury news today was mixed. Mike Wright went on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder bursitis, but Seth Smith returned to the lineup, and Zach Britton and Darren O’Day are making progress.
Smith was sidelined with a sore back, but he’s leading off tonight against the Cardinals’ Carlos Martínez.
“Until we get in the game speed and everything, nobody knows for sure, but I think he’s OK. We feel like he is,” Showalter said.
Britton begins his injury rehab assignment Monday night at short-season Single-A Aberdeen. He’ll pitch the first inning.
“They want to make sure he gets a full warmup,” Showalter said, adding that Britton will make two appearances at Single-A Delmarva and head to Double-A Bowie to pitch in back-to-back games.
“That’s good,” Showalter said. “It’s good to see him. He’s got a lot of color. He’s been out in the sun. So far, so good.”
Showalter indicated that Britton won’t return to the active roster on July 1. But the left-hander is expected back before the All-Star break.
“I think probably after that second Delmarva appearance we’ll get a real definitive idea if it all goes well,” Showalter said. “He feels good. You can tell by talking to him that he feels good about where he is.”
O’Day won’t be ready to come off the disabled list on Saturday, but he’s playing catch without soreness in his right shoulder.
“Darren threw yesterday for the first time since going on the DL and felt real good,” Showalter said. “Had no pain, no problems. I haven’t gotten an update, yet, but that’s moving well.
“Obviously, he’s eligible tomorrow. He won’t make that, but hopefully we’ll get him back sometime next week.”
O’Day probably will go on an injury rehab assignment.
“With his down time, I’d think so,” Showalter said. “It could be as much as a couple sim games. I don’t know. But he’s going to have to face some hitters and make sure he responds well the next day.
“It would be great to get him and Zach back on a consistent basis.”
Infielder Ryan Flaherty is throwing and hitting off a tee in Sarasota. He remains on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder.
“He hasn’t had any issues yet, but it’s inching along,” Showalter said. “He had one of those injuries that if you don’t get it right the first time, then you’re talking about surgery. You’ve got to let this heal all the way, very much like Zach’s. You’ve got be cautious.
“He’s frustrated with how long this has taken and in his mind how slow it’s going, but it’s the right move. He’s a guy you don’t really miss that much until he’s gone. He solved a lot of issues for us.”
“Ubaldo has responded well to some time in the bullpen. We’ll see if that happens again,” Showalter said. “We really want to try to see if we can solidify the bullpen a little bit as far as some of the movement there. Ash did a good job there and presented himself well as a starter sometimes. But it’s as much because Ubaldo pitches, he needs three or four days off. It really put is in a tough spot in the bullpen. Plus, he’s shown a history of responding well to a little time down there. But it’s as much for the bullpen as it is for Ubaldo.
“Roger (McDowell) and I have been talking about it for a start or so because of all the movement we’ve had down there. We’ve needed to cover ourselves. And Ubaldo pitches an inning or two or three, it’s three or four days before he can pitch again.”
Jiménez has been better after previous demotions to the bullpen and the Orioles are hoping that his five relief appearances will benefit him on Sunday and beyond.
“He’s been crisper out there,” Showalter said. “Usually if he gets through the first hitter ... He’s been carrying a little more fastball. I’m hoping the command of the fastball’s been better, too. I’m hoping that carries over to the start.
“He’ll be pitching on one day extra than normal rest. He’s going to have a little work day today. Light.”
Update: Kevin Gausman loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning on three singles, walked Dexter Fowler to force in a run and gave up another on Stephen Piscotty’s sacrifice fly to the warning track in right-center field.
The Cardinals settled for two runs and a 2-0 lead.
Update II: Machado cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice fly after Hyun Soo Kim singled and Seth Smith doubled off Carlos Martínez.
Update III: Paul DeJong hit a two-run homer off Gausman with two outs in the fourth inning to give St. Louis a 4-1 lead. Nine of 19 batters have reached against Gausman.
Update IV: Gausman was charged with five runs in 5 2/3 innings, the last scoring after Gabriel Ynoa inherited a runner on second base and gave up DeJong’s RBI single. Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler followed with home runs to give St. Louis an 8-1 lead.
Update V: Ynoa allowed his third home run tonight, a two-run shot by Tommy Pham in the seventh inning after he committed an error. The Orioles are down 10-1.