BOSTON – Orioles manager Buck Showalter said after Thursday’s game that he won’t decide a starter for Saturday afternoon's game against the Tampa Bay Rays until after Friday’s series opener.
Showalter said it will likely be either Miguel Gonzalez or Bud Norris, but he’d like to have one of the two available in long relief Friday in case right-hander Jason Hammel has an early exit.
"Ham hasn't exactly been throwing seven, eight [innings], 100-plus pitches,” Showalter said. “So if we have to get him early and use somebody else, I just want to leave our options open. We have good people in place.”
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Making his first start since July 28 last Friday, Hammel allowed three runs on five hits over five innings and was removed from the game after just 62 pitches.
Gonzalez, who left his start Sunday in the sixth inning with a right groin strain, threw a bullpen session before Thursday’s game and came through it well. Norris, whose last start was skipped because of elbow inflammation threw a bullpen sesion Tuesday.
Gonzalez is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his career against the Rays and 2-0 with an 0.92 ERA in three starts at Tropicana Field. Norris is 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA in three career starts against Tampa Bay and has never pitched in St. Pete.
Showalter said before Thursday's game that one Orioles pitcher has an illness in the family and could have to leave the team while it's in Tampa Bay. Scott Feldman is slated to start Sunday and Wei-Yin Chen is scheduled for Monday.