08/06/11 7:10 PM ET
Showalter likely to turn to bullpen for Tuesday start
By Avi Zaleon / MLB.com
Newly acquired southpaw Jo-Jo Reyes, who went 5-8 in 20 starts for the Blue Jays this season, is a likely candidate to make the spot start. Reyes has not faced Chicago this year and lasted just 4 1/3 innings at Texas in his most recent start, when he was still with Toronto. He is currently being used in a relief role for Baltimore.
"We'll see how we come out of the bullpen [on Saturday]," said manager Buck Showalter. "I'd like to get Jo-Jo back out there [Saturday night], if I can. He needs to pitch, but he's been stretched out pretty good with the exception of the last period of time. We'll see."
Unless the Orioles place another player on the disabled list, they will not be able to bring up hurlers like Pedro Viola or Mark Hendrickson, who were sent down and have yet to wait out the 10-day window that must pass before being called back up. However, Rick VandenHurk, who is currently with Triple-A Norfolk, is an option that Showalter did not rule out.
But for now, Showalter said he is leaning towards using a bullpen pitcher in place of Britton.
"That would be a fair call," Showalter said. "I'd lean that way, but stay tuned."
Britton hopes to make most of down time
BALTIMORE -- In May, Zach Britton was the answer.
With a 5-2 record and 2.35 ERA after his first 10 starts, fans looked to the rookie southpaw as a promising young talent that could be an anchor in the Orioles' rotation for years to come.
Since then, Britton has been caught in a downward spiral of short starts, a stint in Double-A Bowie and now a trip to the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain.
Britton's move to the DL on Friday made room for returning infielder Cesar Izturis and also cuts down on the left-hander's innings count, a consistent concern of manager Buck Showalter and his staff.
Britton said on Saturday that he feels fine and is able to pitch, but time away from the mound will help him in other ways.
"It was never an issue of not being able to pitch," Britton said. "I've kind of been pitching through it, and I could easily throw Tuesday. That's just not what we're looking at. We're looking at trying to just calm whatever's going on down, and they feel like maybe I've been overdoing it a little bit, trying to figure some stuff out in the bullpen. I'm kind of going through a rough stretch, so I'm really trying to figure some stuff out and maybe I overdid it a little bit. It's going to back me off, give me some time off and get [me] going for the rest of the year."
Showalter said the timetable for Britton's return to the rotation is on pace with when he'll be eligible to come off the DL on August 20. The 23-year-old first started feeling discomfort against the Cardinals at the end of June and has since been trying to minimize the inflammation in his shoulder with ice and medication.
"[At] this stage, I don't like to take a chance there at all," Showalter said. "So I think with this DL period, we'll be able to clear it up completely and hopefully not have it be a challenge for him the rest of the season."
Britton's record now stands at 6-9 with a 4.66 ERA. After making three starts for Bowie in July, Britton was thrown into the fire, as his first two outings came against Boston and New York. In the two games, he gave up a combined 13 earned runs and failed to get out of the first inning.
"I wasn't happy with [going on the disabled list], but I think it's in the best interests for both sides," Britton said. "So [I'll] just kind of make the best of the time that I'll be out."
Former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick began serving as interim bullpen coach on Saturday and will remain in that role throughout the current homestand, which ends on Aug. 14.
The Orioles agreed to terms with outfielder John Ruettiger, their eighth-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Baltimore has have now agreed to terms with 17 Draft picks.
Entering Saturday, the Orioles were the only team in the American League to have 10 or more home runs from both their shortstop and third baseman. Entering Saturday, J.J. Hardy and Mark Reynolds had 19 and 24 dingers, respectively.
Avi Zaleon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.