Britton will start Saturday in New York; Tillman a possibility, also; Worrell optioned; Izturis won't be activated in Toronto
Despite Zach Britton getting knocked around by Double-A Harrisburg for eight runs (four earned) and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings last night, Orioles manage Buck Showalter said that he got positive reports from the outing and the plan remains for the left-hander to start the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader against the New York Yankees.
In three starts since he was optioned to Double-A Bowie, Britton is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. On Monday, Britton retired 12 of the first 13 Harrisburg hitters that he faced, eight on strikeouts. However, after getting the first out of the fifth inning, nine of the next 10 batters reached base off Britton. That included two fifth-inning doubles by phenom Bryce Harper and back-to-back homers by Bill Rhinehart and Tyler Moore.
“He was actually good,” Showalter said. “I talked to a number of people and [pitching coach Rick Adair] talked to him, too. It’s probably the best that he’s thrown in a long time, the first four innings. Probably, only two of those runs should have scored. He struck out nine and he was very effective. He got in some two or three defensive situations and he had a real long inning and they thought it best to get him out. That was encouraging.”
Because the Orioles have been going with a four-man rotation, they’ll also need a starter for the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader in New York. Showalter said that they’ll either promote a minor leagues or use somebody out of the bullpen for the other. One candidate is Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Chris Tillman, who would be on regular rest Saturday.
Tillman is 3-3 with a 4.17 ERA in 10 outings for the Tides after going 2-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 10 starts for the Orioles earlier this season.
“He’s an option,” Showalter said of Tillman. “So is Oliver Drake. So is [Dylan] Bundy and if we don’t get him signed, we might take his brother [Bobby].”
In other news, the Orioles optioned reliever Mark Worrell to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Vladimir Guerrero. Worrell had a 36.00 ERA, allowing eight runs on six hits, two homers, and two walks in four appearances spanning two innings.
Infielder Cesar Izturis (right elbow surgery) played his fourth game tonight for Double-A Bowie, and his rehab assignment will likely continue until at least the end of the week. “You try to keep in mind, it’s been a long time since this guy has played in a baseball game. He was going to play second [Monday] night and his knee was a little sore. That’s not something that is going to happen overnight. I think he knows that he’s a really rusty and he’s not where he needs to be yet.”