Showalter on the rotation, Schoop, Jones and more (O’s down 5-4)

OAKLAND, Calif. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter continues to withhold his plans for the rotation and where Chris Tillman fits into it.

The off-day on Monday allows the Orioles to skip Tillman, who retired only three batters last night in Anaheim while raising his ERA to 9.24 in 25 1/3 innings. However, there’s also the desire to provide rest for other starters by pushing everyone back and staying in turn.

Dylan Bundy won’t start again until Tuesday night’s series opener against the Royals at Camden Yards. The Orioles wouldn’t need a fifth starter until May 12 against the Rays.

“I think the big thing is what’s best for the group,” Showalter said. “I found through the years that you get off-days during the season, you better give it to them if you can. We look at their work day, see how Cash (Andrew Cashner) feels after he pitches. We know we’re going to need our fifth starter on Saturday.

“Things lined up well for Chris yesterday. He was coming off a really good outing and pitching in a place that he’s pitched real well in, and it didn’t work out, so there’s some concern there.”

The $3 million question is whether Tillman would take the mound on start on Saturday as the fifth starter.

“Like I said last night, and I’ll repeat it again ... we’re trying to put our best foot forward and we’ll continue to look at it,” Showalter said. “We know Chris is capable of better. He just hasn’t been very consistent. But we’ll see what the next week brings.

“Right now we’re trying to play better here against Oakland.”

Jonathan-Schoop-run-black-sidebar.jpgJonathan Schoop is 0-for-2 with a strikeout in his first rehab game at Double-A Bowie. The game is in a rain delay with the Baysox trailing Akron 11-2 in the fifth inning, and it’s doubtful that Schoop would take the field again if play resumes.

The forecast in Bowie this weekend likely will force the Orioles to shift Schoop’s assignment to Triple-A Norfolk.

“He doesn’t know it yet, but he may get in a car in the morning with (minor league infield instructor) Dave Anderson and go to Norfolk,” Showalter said. “Waiting on a response whether we want to transfer him or not.”

The Orioles intend to activate Schoop from the disabled list on Tuesday if he doesn’t experience any discomfort in his oblique.

“The worst thing would be for him to rush this and he comes back and his first at-bat he goes back to square one,” Showalter said. “We think we caught it. Actually, we’re ahead of schedule of what normally happens with an oblique muscle, so we think we caught it early. Just want to make sure he’s ready to go, but he’s doing well.”

Luis SardiƱas, on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his lower back, is feeling better and “that’s good to see,” Showalter said.

Closer Zach Britton will do fielding drills again on Saturday after throwing a bullpen session earlier today.

Adam Jones tonight will become the eighth player in Orioles history to play in his 1,500th game with the team. As I wrote earlier, he joins a list that includes Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger, Eddie Murray, Boog Powell, Brady Anderson and Paul Blair.

“I see a stat every once in a while that really reminds me of some of the people that he’s in company with,” Showalter said. “It says a lot about Adam’s tenure here with the club and the club wanting to keep him here through the years and posting up. You don’t get those numbers unless you’re the durable player that he is.

It’s just like today. I always try to give a guy like him a heads up if there’s a chance in whether he’s DHing or hitting somewhere else in the order. I wish I had saved all of Adam’s responses through the years when I’ve thrown something at him like that. It’s just, ‘Whatever you think, what’s best for the club, let’s get it going. I’ll hit ninth, first, whatever.’ When I do say, ‘Hey, if you had a perfect world, where would you want to do this or that?’ he’ll give you his opinion, but it’s always about the team. And to be able to get those numbers within the team concept is really attractive.”

Jones posted a photo of his black No. 10 jersey on Instagram with the following message:

“I’m not mushy but I’m extremely humbled to be able to have worn this jersey for 1500 games tonight. Blessed ain’t the word. So many people have been a part of this great journey so hopefully the ride continues!!!”

Showalter was asked what he’s seen from Anthony Santander, whose Rule 5 status ends on May 12.

“As advertised, right where he needs to be,” Showalter said. “He’s got a chance to be a good player. You throw out just pure statistical things, he’s done a lot of improving. We just didn’t know a lot (because) he was hurt. That’s why he was available in the draft. He’s healthy, he’s running well, he’s playing a really good outfield, great kid, very professional and I’m hoping that May 12 gets here and he stays with us. We’ll see what happens.”

Caleb Joseph, who’s behind the plate again tonight, has a hit in five of his last six starts to increase his average from .081 to .145.

“You see a guy who has a good track record for hitting in the minor leagues and it’s not happening here, I don’t want to say ‘anxiety,’ it’s just, our guys are in such a want-to-too-much mode, and how do you stop it?” Showalter said. “That’s what’s tough. There’s such a, ‘I’ve got to get a hit this pitch, I’ve got to do that, I’ve got to catch perfect if I’m not hitting.’ And that’s kind of where people get into that mode. It’s tough to execute when you’re in that mindset, and it’s really hard as a manager to get them out of it other than loving them. Tough love.

“This is not a time where you beat up on people, OK? I’ve been accused of being tougher when we’re doing well. We’ll see what the boys have in store for us tonight.”

Update: Jones homered off Daniel Mengden in the top of the first inning to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

Update II: Khris Davis hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first and Matt Olson followed with a home run - combined estimated distance of 861 feet - to give the Athletics a 4-1 lead.

Update III: The Orioles opened the top of the sixth inning against reliever Yusmeiro Petit with consecutive singles by Jones, Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo to score twice, and Danny Valencia tied the game with a one-out RBI single.

Update IV: Brad Brach stranded two runners in the fifth, but he surrendered the go-ahead run in the sixth on Jed Lowrie’s two-out single. The inning began with Machado’s throwing error.

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