By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
7:39 PM EDT, September 3, 2013
The Orioles tweaked their starting rotation Tuesday, naming left-hander Zach Britton — who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Monday — as the starting pitcher for Wednesday’s series finale against the Cleveland Indians instead of originally scheduled starter Miguel Gonzalez.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the rest of the rotation will be pushed back a day until at least next Monday, when the club’s options will be re-evaluated.
“There were a lot of different factors,” Showalter said. “It just fit better with where we are physically with some guys, and we don’t want Zach to get too far away from the ball in his hand. … I met with the starters [Tuesday] and told them we’re going to kind of play it by ear, told them what was going on for the next few days and then we’ll revisit it [next Monday].”
The move will allow the Orioles to push their rotation back to give Gonzalez, who allowed seven runs over four innings in his last start Friday against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, an extra day of rest. He will start Thursday against the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards.
In his major league career, Gonzalez has a 2.72 ERA with five days rest between starts, while he has a 4.66 ERA on the regular four days of rest. With the rotation adjustment, right-hander Chris Tillman would be in line to start Monday’s series opener against the Yankees at Camden Yards.
Rookie right-hander Kevin Gausman remains an option to start, but Showalter indicated he’d like to keep Gausman’s power right arm in the bullpen because of some lingering health concerns to other relievers. He wouldn’t give specific details about any possible injuries.
“We’ll see where Gaus is most valuable for us,” Showalter said. “Also, it plays into who is healthy in our bullpen right now and who might need somebody else down there.”
Britton hasn’t pitched since last Wednesday and is coming off arguably his best start of the season, when he allowed just one run and five hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and no walks for the Tides against Charlotte. He went 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in five August starts in Norfolk and allowed two or fewer runs in four of those five outings.
“[It’s] another opportunity to come up here and show that I’ve made adjustments,” Britton said. “Hopefully give this team some innings and give the other starters a little breather, which is nice in September.”
Britton, who said Monday he thought he’d be used mainly in relief, is eager to start.
“It was exciting last year when he gave me an opportunity to start in September and again this year,” Britton said. “There’s more weight on these games. So you’re excited to go out there and give this team a chance to win. Hopefully I’ll give us a better chance of going to the postseason [Wednesday].”
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