Rehashing Orioles news, previewing tonight’s game and striking out cancer

ARLINGTON, Texas - Let me make sure I’ve got it all straight.

Miguel Gonzalez underwent an MRI on his right side yesterday and is a strong candidate for the disabled list. Chris Tillman is starting in Gonzalez’s place tonight in the series finale against the Rangers, and Kevin Gausman may be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and start Saturday night against the Athletics at Camden Yards.

Bud Norris left last night’s game after five innings with a right forearm contusion and will be re-evaluated today. No word on who would replace him in the rotation if he can’t make his next start.

Matt Wieters will play catch again today for the fourth time. Tommy Hunter will pitch a simulated game.

Johan Santana will work five innings or throw 75 pitches on Friday at extended spring training. Norfolk outfielder Henry Urrutia has been cleared to start jogging Friday after undergoing sports hernia surgery.

Manager Buck Showalter must be afraid to step inside the clubhouse each day, never knowing if another player will show up injured.

“Everybody has little things that crop up,” he said. “You think you’ve got everything fine and then Miguel walks in with one and somebody else walks in with something else. Off-days are great, but somehow we have an off day where something crops up from the day before that you weren’t expecting.”

Wieters went on the disabled list May 11, and the Orioles still aren’t setting a timetable for him to do more than play catch every other day. They still don’t have a clear read on whether he will avoid surgery.

“We said around the four-to-six-week mark,” Showalter said. “We all know what Fourth of July is really, I don’t want to say something definitive, but we’re working toward that. I’m hoping that something between now and then ...

“I’ve seen the schedule, the most conservative that Brian (Ebel) and Richie (Bancells) put together and I know the timeframe of where we kind of go, ‘This is taking too long.’ But he’s worth waiting on. At the end of the day it’s going to be Matt’s decision as much as anything.”

Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA in three career games against the Rangers. He’ll have to sit on those numbers, since he’s no longer making tonight’s start.

Tillman is 3-1 with a 3.21 ERA in four starts against the Rangers and 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA in three starts at Globe Life Park.

What’s Adrian Beltre do against Tillman? Try 3-for-8 with a double and home run.

Left-handers are batting .350 against Rangers starter Colby Lewis this season. Right-handers are batting .325. He’s 1-3 with a 7.52 ERA in four home starts and 3-1 with a 3.90 ERA in five road starts.

What’s going on with Lewis?

Lewis is 1-4 with a 5.97 ERA in seven career appearances against the Orioles, including five starts. J.J. Hardy is 4-for-12 with a double and two home runs against him. Nick Markakis is 2-for-13, but both hits are home runs. Delmon Young is 4-for-13.

I’m going to close this blog entry with the thought that Monica Barlow, the Orioles’ public relations director who passed away on Feb. 28 after a 4 1/2 year battle with Stage IV lung cancer, should be celebrating her 37th birthday today. She should be surrounded by family and friends - or annoying beat writers who keep asking questions that easily could be answered if they bothered to check the game notes.

Forever in our hearts. Forever loved and missed.

FOXSports.com ran a story yesterday about Cardinals reliever Jason Motte coming up with the idea for a T-shirt with the backward K - the strikeout looking symbol on your scorecard - over the word “cancer.” He contacted the company 108 Stitches, and one year later, the T-shirts are prominent in every major league clubhouse, with part of the proceeds going to various charities - including LUNGevity, the organization Monica worked so closely with, including yearly walks in D.C. and at Camden Yards.

EMarkakisKCancer.jpgach team has at least one player wearing the shirt, someone who’s been directly impacted by the disease. Markakis was chosen as the Orioles’ representative.

The cause hits close to home. Too close.

Markakis’ mother is a breast cancer survivor. As the longest-tenured Oriole, he knew Monica for many years and flew on the charter to Virginia for a gathering after she passed away.

“Even if you don’t have somebody in that situation or you know somebody in that situation, it’s still a great cause to support that,” Markakis said. “It’s tough to see people go through that and to go through it and be a part of it, you really understand what it’s about and how serious it is. Just to be able to show your support and help out anyway you can goes a long way.”

I wondered how Markakis found out about the K Cancer T-shirts, which can be purchased at 108stitches.com.

“People contact you, but you hear through word of mouth,” he said. “You know, players talk a lot. We’re competing against each other, but also doing things for good causes and the right way. People talk and it gets around and we were asked to be part of it.

“It was for an awesome cause, so as long as it’s going toward something supportive and good, I’m all for it.”

Monica would be proud. She’d also be annoyed that I’m still writing and talking about her.

“Let it go, Roch,” she would say, smiling as her voice jumped a couple of octaves. “Uncle!”

Happy Birthday, Mon.

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