As expected, most of today’s pregame interview session with Orioles manager Buck Showalter revolved around right-hander Jake Arrieta, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk this afternoon.
Arrieta will join the starting rotation in Norfolk -- there’s no talk of moving him to a relief role because the Orioles still believe his arsenal of pitches is best utilized as a starter -- and Showalter said he mentioned some things to Arrieta privately that he’d like for him to work on.
Showalter expressed that he still has faith that Arrieta can help the Orioles get to the playoffs, but “when will be up to him.” He added that he believes Arrieta’s issues are entirely mental.
“With a guy like Jake, stuff-wise, there is no wrong pitch,” Showalter said.
After fielding several questions about Arrieta, Showalter told reporters to keep in mind that a major reason Arrieta was optioned was because the Orioles need an extra reliever.
As for Burnett, Showalter said he can give the Orioles bullpen some length over the next two nights before the team needs a starter for Wednesday’s afternoon game.
Showalter said that pitcher will likely come from Triple-A Norfolk and not be long-reliever T.J. McFarland or Tommy Hunter.
That leaves the most likely options as left-hander Zach Britton (1-0, 1.98), right-hander Freddy Garcia (2-0, 3.57) or right-hander Josh Stinson (1-0, 1.32).
Britton last pitched on Thursday, so he could go on an extra day of rest. As of now, Garcia is scheduled to start Tuesday, but could easily be pushed back to pitch Wednesday afternoon. Stinson threw just two innings on Saturday at Class-A Frederick, which was playing at Potomac, and he was a major-league bullpen option for the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Both Britton and Stinson are on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, so calling them up wouldn’t require a 40-man move, but Garcia is three starts into a five-start evaluation period with the Tides before he can opt out.
Showalter said an opt out wouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor unless it was a tiebreaker.