Orioles manager Buck Showalter confirmed this afternoon that Chris Tillman will pitch Game 2 of Friday night’s doubleheader against the Rays after Kevin Gausman takes the mound for the opener. However, he can’t provide an exact date for Bud Norris’ next outing.
“Tillman will throw Friday night, second game,” Showalter said. “We can push Bud back as far as (July 1) if we want to. Just don’t think Friday is a good option. A little tentative, but better.”
Asked whether Saturday was a possibility, Showalter replied, “It is an option. I’m just basically saying Friday, I just don’t think he’s quite there yet. Close.”
Norris most likely would need to throw another bullpen session to convince the Orioles that he’s ready. He’s been receiving treatment on his right groin, which forced him out of Saturday’s start at Yankee Stadium after five innings.
“Probably need to do it one more time and see if some of the tentativeness goes away,” Showalter said. “It’s more from the stretch than it was from the windup. But Tillman was good.
“We’ll see what post-Friday brings. He may come in here on Friday and want to throw and feel good and Saturday or Sunday is an option.”
Wei-Yin Chen could start Saturday, followed by Miguel Gonzalez on Sunday. The Orioles can push back Norris, who’s allowed two runs in his last 19 2/3 innings, as far as Tuesday.
“That’s where we have to have a starter for sure,” Showalter said. “Everybody else would have normal rest. That’s as far back as you can go with it without making a move for someone to start there, because Gaus has to go back out after he starts to get the rest of the 10 days.”
Anyone who’s optioned must remain in the minors a minimum of 10 days unless replacing an injured player, but Gausman’s clock won’t restart because he’s being used as a 26th player in a split doubleheader.
“That day counts as one of the 10,” Showalter said. “That’s strange, isn’t it? The day that he’s pitching here as the 26th guy, it counts as one of the days of the 10. It’s probably a union-negotiated thing.”
Speaking of the union, a representative attended third baseman Manny Machado’s appeal hearing today at the warehouse. Executive vice president Dan Duquette and Machado’s agent also were present, and they met for about an hour with Joe Garagiola Jr., Major League Baseball’s senior vice president in charge of standards and on-field operations.
The Orioles, as I’ve written, would be in a bind if the suspension begins on Friday.
“I know where it would be most hurtful, so I don’t know,” Showalter said. “Maybe that’s what they’ll do. I didn’t go. I heard from multiple people that Dan did a great job with it.”
The Orioles will bring up an infielder to replace Machado while sending out a pitcher. They can’t afford to go with a short bullpen in a doubleheader.
“We have things in place,” Showalter said. “Maybe somebody moves to Bowie to be closer. The problem is they’re in Richmond, which is a three-hour drive. Not that I’ve looked at it. The other team (Triple-A Norfolk) is in Pawtucket, which you can’t drive from. You can hardly get there. So, yeah, we’ve got some things in place - infielders, possible pitchers. There are some moving parts on it. We’re trying to prepare for the scenarios.”
Showalter also noted that Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar is in Single-A Frederick.
“Everybody’s in play,” Showalter said. “And there’s about 50 percent that we stand pat. It happens.”
The Orioles announced the signing of two more draft selections - left-hander Matt Trowbridge (13th round) and right-hander Jean Cosme (17th)