ARLINGTON -- The Orioles will call on right-hander Mitch Atkins for Tuesday's start in Texas, as the other leading candidate, reliever Alfredo Simon, was used to pitch in Monday's 13-4 loss following starter Chris Jakubauskas' exit after two-plus innings.
Atkins, who was a non-roster invitee this spring, was sidelined all of camp with a left oblique strain and worked his way up to Triple-A Norfolk by the end of May. He's 2-3 with a 3.11 ERA in eight starts for the Tides, and is 3-6 with a 3.18 ERA in 14 starts -- spread over three affiliates -- this season.
The 25-year-old right-hander was on schedule to start on Tuesday and is already in Arlington, which made him the most logical choice to take the rotation spot vacated by Brian Matusz, who was demoted last week. Atkins appeared in five games for the Cubs last season -- all out of the bullpen -- pitching to a 6.30 ERA in 10 innings.
Since Atkins is not on the 40-man roster, the Orioles would have to select his contract and make a corresponding roster move to send someone out. Jakubauskas and reliever Pedro Viola are the two most likely candidates, although there's a possibility the team decides on a position player.
Showalter returns to Texas in visitors' dugout
ARLINGTON -- It was almost exactly a year ago that Buck Showalter met with Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail in Dallas to discuss Baltimore's managerial vacancy. Showalter, who stills owns a home in the area, said Monday afternoon he hasn't really had time to reflect on the Orioles' series in Arlington, which marks his first trip back to Texas -- where he managed for four seasons -- as Baltimore's skipper.
"I hope we have the same series they had last year," Showalter said, referencing the Orioles' four-game sweep in Texas. "But I haven't really given it a whole lot of thought. We got so many things going on right now. ... They got so many new players from when I was here, [I'm] just trying to talk to advance scouts and get ready to play the game. The only thing I'm really that familiar with is, Michael [Young] is here. And the ballpark, a little bit."
Showalter, who was dismissed following the 2006 season, isn't the only Oriole with Texas roots. Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero was part of the American League Championship squad last season, and young starters Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton both hail from the Lone Star State, with Arrieta also graduate of Texas Christian University. Reliever Michael Gonzalez is also from Deer Park.
"A lot of guys have a background from here," Showalter said. "It says a lot about the state of Texas."
The starting rotation in Boston will be Jake Arrieta and Britton starting the first two games, and it's up in the air after that. The O's could go Jeremy Guthrie on short rest for Saturday, and Showalter said they are mulling over doing something different -- perhaps using a host of relievers -- for Sunday's game.
Britton finished InterLeague Play 5-for-8, the most hits in one season for an American League pitcher during the designated-hitter era. Britton got the ball from his first home run in Atlanta on Sunday. The Orioles all gave him the cold shoulder in the dugout when he came in, until Derrek Lee finally couldn't hold it in and started to smile. They erupted in congratulations after that.
Mark Reynolds' second-inning homer on Monday was his third consecutive game going yard.
Showalter said he has considered moving the slumping Vladimir Guerrero out of the cleanup spot, but he will likely stay there while facing his former team in Texas.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.