ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter intends to keep his starters on turn past Thursday’s off-day, which basically gives the club a six-man rotation.
For how long is another matter.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Bud Norris and Chris Tillman will make the starts at Yankee Stadium, keeping them in a rotation that also includes Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman.
“That could change, depending on what happens the next couple of nights, obviously,” Showalter said.
The Orioles currently have six relievers on their roster and might need a starter moved to the bullpen, which would change how the rotation lines up.
“In a perfect world, we could stay with the six until we get through the (June 27) doubleheader, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to,” Showalter said. “We’ll see. The opposition will have something to say about that.”
Showalter resists calling it a “six-man rotation,” no matter how it adds up.
“It’s not six,” he said. “We’ve got a doubleheader coming up. We’re going to need another pitcher for that day anyway, so that makes it six. I’ve got it.
“If we have to keep our bullpen fresh, we will do it between now and then. It could happen in New York. We have some (relievers) who are eligible to come back who weren’t eligible a couple days ago. You can do the 10-day math on the guys we sent out, barring an injury.”
Preston Guilmet was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on June 6, left-hander Tim Berry was optioned to Double-A Bowie on June 7, Evan Meek was optioned to Norfolk on June 8 and Brad Brach was optioned to Norfolk on June 9.
“You’d like to get through the doubleheader without having to make a bunch of moves with your starters, but we’ll see,” Showalter said. “I don’t make plans for that because you’ve got too many roads to cross to get there.”
Eventually, the Orioles will need to send down a pitcher and bring up an infielder while third baseman Manny Machado serves his suspension. Machado’s appeal won’t be heard until after the Yankees series, so the Orioles will keep him through the weekend.
“That’s just what I’m told,” Showalter said.
Gausman is starting Wednesday afternoon against the Rays, taking the ball without any assurances that he will receive it again when his turn comes up. It’s just assumed at this point.
“It’s a competitive place, and if we feel like we have our best opportunity to win consistently with him as one of the starters, we’ll do that,” Showalter said. “I’m glad that we’ve got more than five to pick from.”
Machado is batting seventh tonight after going 1-for-9 in his last two games. Steve Pearce, who’s hitting .306, moves up to second.
“Stevie’s swinging the bat well. Want to take advantage of that,” Showalter said. “You’re trying to present some challenges all the way through the batting order. Of course, we could do that with Manny hitting seventh or second.
“I don’t think there’s near the discussion among players in the big leagues about batting order as there is among everybody else, but maybe I’ve got it misread. The greatest accolade that somebody can pay you is to put your name in the lineup, regardless of what spot it is.”
My quotes from Showalter regarding Matt Wieters’ elbow surgery didn’t make it in my earlier entry. Some sort of glitch. Let’s try it again here.
“It went well,” Showalter said. “I think he’s going to stay another day and then leave (for Atlanta).
“We knew he had a little bit of a spur in there. Most guys do. And they shaved that down and transposed the ulnar nerve. If you’ve got some tingling and stuff, that means ... They just move it out of the way and take it out of play.
“He’s going to rest. He’s pretty groggy.”
The procedure takes about 20-30 minutes, but Dr. James Andrews had to harvest the tendon from the wrist.
“If you’re that far along with an injury to a ligament, you usually have a spur because your body does that to cover for it,” Showalter said.
“(Andrews) was real pleased with it.”
The rehab process, in some form, will begin right away. Wieters will stay in Atlanta for a while, but the Orioles expect to see him at some point.
“We talked about it,” Showalter said. “Finally, at the end, I just said, ‘Let’s just see how the thing goes. You’re always more than welcome. Don’t feel like you’ve got to.’
“He was planning out the whole rest of his season. I know he wants to come back some.”