Between the games of today's doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox, right-hander Bud Norris -– currently on the disabled list -- will pitch a two- to three-inning simulated game on the field to test his right groin. The Orioles traded pregame batting practice for the right to use the field between games.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that if Norris comes out of the simulated game well, he could be an option to fill Wednesday’s starting pitcher slot against the Washington Nationals at Camden Yards.
Otherwise, today’s starter for the first game – right-hander Miguel Gonzalez – would have pitch on short rest. Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez starts the nightcap, and right-hander Kevin Gausman is slated to start Sunday’s series finale. Right-hander Chris Tillman and left-hander Wei-Yin Chen are slated to pitch in Washington on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
Norris tested his groin during pitchers' fielding practice before Thursday’s game, so facing hitters is the final step before he can be activated from the DL.
Norris could be activated as early on Monday, and that’s not entirely out of the question, but Wednesday appears to be more likely.
Also of note:
--Right-hander Preston Guilmet arrived in Boston before today’s afternoon game and will be activated as the 26th man for the night game of the doubleheader. Guilmet must be sent down afterward. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to bring up a position player and reliever for the 26th slot and decide which was needed before the game, but wasn’t allowed.
-- Gausman, who will start Sunday’s game, will arrive in Boston before tonight's game. The Orioles chose to start Gausman partially because left-hander T.J. McFarland, the other candidate to start Sunday, could be needed in the doubleheader.
-- Manny Machado will be available to return for tonight's game after fulfilling his five-game suspension. The Orioles have won all four games without Machado so far. “There’s a lot of heat on him if we win the first game,” Showalter said.
-- Showalter said coaches met to start discussing the starting rotation after the All-Star break, and the team could option a starter to the minors during the break to get work in. Gausman is among the considerations for that. In previous years, they've sent Chen and Tillman down to the minors over the break to get extra work and stay on schedule.
Here are the lineups for this afternoon's game: