6/28/2014 3:32 P.M. ET
Britton's numbers certainly All-Star worthy
By Benjamin Standig / Special to MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Imagine ranking Orioles pitchers based on 2014 All-Star potential back in Spring Training or on Opening Day. Zach Britton wouldn't have made the short list. Three months into the season, Baltimore's new closer stands as an obvious choice.
After bouncing back and forth between the Majors and the Minors since 2011, Britton's been a dominant force out of the bullpen no matter the role this year. Overall, he owns a 3-1 record with a 1.52 ERA in 34 games, striking out 31 batters in 41 1/3 innings. Twenty-two of his 24 appearances since May 1 have been scoreless. Four of the seven earned runs Britton allowed this season came in one outing.
Baltimore started the 2014 campaign with Tommy Hunter taking over as the closer. When Hunter faltered, Britton stepped in, converting 10 of 12 save opportunities. Starry numbers indeed.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Buck juggling needs with Machado decision looming
BALTIMORE -- When it comes to a final decision on Manny Machado's suspension, all the Orioles can do is wait. In the meantime, Buck Showalter must also prepare to be without his third baseman for at least a few days.
Machado appealed his five-game suspension for the June 8 bat-throwing incident on Wednesday. MLB's vice president of standards and on-field operations, Joe Garagiola Jr., will announce the decision any day now.
When Machado learns how long he'll be off the field, the Orioles will be without a starter and down to a 24-man active roster.
Ryan Flaherty started at third when Machado missed games due to injury earlier in the season. Baltimore currently has only four non-pitchers on its bench, which means the team will likely swap out one of their eight relief pitchers for an infielder. Jemile Weeks, acquired from the Oakland A's during the offseason, is a leading candidate.
The Orioles wrap up their series with the Rays on Sunday and then host the Rangers for a four-game set starting Monday.
Showalter wouldn't commit to anything specific when asked about the matter on Saturday.
"We don't have to do anything. It's 50-50 we won't do anything, just try and withstand it with the people we have," Showalter said. "There are so many variables here. How do we get through Sunday and Monday, pitching-wise? Tuesday is sitting there."
Tuesday refers to the pitching vacancy created with Bud Norris landing on the 15-day disabled list. Among the relievers, T.J. McFarland, who started one game for Baltimore last season, is the likely option to start.
"The dynamic to this is Tuesday," Showalter said. "We're going to need starting pitching then. That's why you're cautious about giving up a relief pitcher for someone to replace Manny. We don't really have somebody on the roster that you feel like physically can go real deep."
If Baltimore goes with McFarland, he would be removed from the bullpen Sunday and Monday. Showalter said he would throw such plans away if McFarland's services were required before Tuesday. Kevin Gausman is eligible to rejoin the team from the Minors, but he pitched on Friday as an emergency 26th man in the Orioles' doubleheader, meaning a Tuesday appearance would come on three day's rest.
Baltimore weighing options with Reimold
BALTIMORE -- Nolan Reimold is currently playing with the Double-A Bowie Baysox. That rehab stint ends Sunday.
By Monday, the Orioles must decide whether to bring the 30-year-old back to the Majors. The decision isn't cut and dried. Even though injuries have crippled Reimold's playing time over the past three seasons, he offers a potent bat. He's also out of Minor League options.
Should the organization decide not to bring him back to the big club, they cannot simply keep Reimold in the Minors. Baltimore would designate Reimold for assignment, which means they would risk losing him if he didn't clear waivers.
"We've had some discussions on [Reimold]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Obviously, there is an impending move there."
Reimold, who has undergone multiple neck surgeries, only played in 56 games since the start of the 2012-13 season. While Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are locked into center and right field respectively, left remains without a clear starter. However, Steve Pearce has been swinging a hot bat, hitting .323 on the season entering Saturday. Delmon Young (.320) provides pop off the bench and David Lough provides a defensive element.
• With two home runs in Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader, the Orioles have 38 in June, the most in the Majors entering Saturday. Baltimore is 36-19 when hitting a home run this season and has homered in all 30 wins since May 1.
• Nick Markakis is three hits away from 100 on the season entering play Saturday. When he reaches that mark, the right fielder will become the 10th player in franchise history with at least 100 hits in nine seasons with the team. Markakis is batting .293 in 331 at-bats.
• Dylan Bundy will make his next start on Thursday for Class-A Fredrick after throwing five scoreless innings for short-season Class A Aberdeen on Friday. In three starts for the IronBirds, the 21-year-old allowed one run and 10 hits with 22 strikeouts in 15 innings.
Benjamin Standig is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.