Closer Zach Britton will rejoin the Orioles on Monday in Boston and be reinstated from the disabled list no later than Tuesday, manager Buck Showalter said after Sunday's 7-4 extra-inning win over the New York Yankees.
Britton, who was sent to the 10-day disabled list with a right forearm strain, made a second minor league rehabilitation start Sunday, pitching for Double-A Bowie. He needed just 11 pitches to complete a scoreless inning, allowing a single, inducing two groundouts and striking out one while pitching the sixth inning for the Baysox.
Britton's second rehab outing was much crisper than his first one on Friday at Bowie, an appearance that Britton described to Showalter as "rusty", when he couldn't finish a full inning despite throwing 28 pitches. But after Sunday's outing, the Orioles feel he's ready.
Even though Britton will join the club Monday, Showalter wouldn't say whether he will be available for the team's series opener at Fenway Park or activated Tuesday after a day off.
"I'm not going to broadcast that," Showalter said. "I just talked to Zach. He had a really good outing. Felt good on the mound. … See how he feels in the morning. If he feels good in the morning, he'll catch a flight to Boston and we'll make a decision there."
Britton's return comes after the Orioles blew two ninth-inning leads in their three games at Yankee Stadium
Davis a late scratch but plays: First baseman Chris Davis was scratched from the starting lineup for Sunday's game with right elbow soreness, but he entered the game in the bottom of the 11th as a defensive replacement.
Davis was initially in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Yankees, but was replaced by Trey Mancini about one hour before the scheduled first pitch.
Davis was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning of Friday night's game in New York, taking a fastball from CC Sabathia to the right elbow. He remained in the game and played Saturday, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts before being replaced by Mancini in eighth inning.
Davis had started in all 22 games this season heading into Sunday.
Davis is hitting just .167 over his past 15 games, going 9-for-54 with 24 strikeouts after starting the season hitting .385 in his first seven games. Davis is 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in the first two games of this weekend's series against the Yankees.
Orioles begin bullpen shuffle: The Orioles reached into their stash of optionable relievers to summon multiple pitchers from Triple-A Norfolk on the same day for the first time this season, recalling left-hander Richard Bleier and right-hander Logan Verrett before Sunday's game.
The team optioned left-handers Vidal Nuno and Jayson Aquino after Saturday's 12-4 loss to the Yankees, starting on Sunday their 10-day clock of mandatory service time in the minors before being eligible to return.
With the Orioles in a midst of playing 17 days in a row and on 26 of 27 days after enjoying the luxury of five days off in April, the team's ability to move optionable relief arms back and forth will be tested. Both pitchers paid attention to the Orioles' shuffling their pitching staff and thought a call-up could come sooner or later.
Showalter said both call-ups were deserved but that there were other factors at play, including days off and that the club wanted to keep certain pitchers in the minors so they could build on recent success.
He said he wanted to keep left-hander Chris Lee and right-hander Gabriel Ynoa at Norfolk while leaving right-handed reliever Jesus Liranzo at Double-A Bowie.
"The need of the major league club will always [be first], but if there's a tiebreaker, it will be what's best for their development as well," Showalter said. "Sometimes coming up here is what's best for their development."
Lee and Ynoa are coming off quality starts in their most recent outings, and Liranzo has allowed just one earned run over his past three relief appearances spanning five innings.
Jackson getting close: Showalter said right-hander Edwin Jackson, who signed a minor league deal with the Orioles on April 5, is getting close to joining a minor league affiliate after beginning his season at extended spring training.
"He's pitching well," Showalter said. "I think he will present himself as an option [soon]. … We're trying to let those guys try and establish some things before we go get them, but we're going to take the best as [we have] options. The roster doesn't figure too much into it. We're always going to have room."
Jackson would likely join a crowded staff at Norfolk, but it's still unclear whether he would be used as a starter or reliever.
"I know what I think, but we'll see where they are with starters and everything when he's ready to go," Showalter said. "He's close. They actually had to take him to the bullpen yesterday because he's wasn't getting as challenged as much as he probably [is] used to at that level."
Around the horn: Right-handed pitcher Alec Asher will start Tuesday's game in Boston, Showalter announced after Sunday's game. Right-hander Dylan Bundy is still scheduled to start tonight's series opener in Boston on regular rest. … Right-hander Chris Tillman was scheduled to leave the team after Sunday's game to fly to Charlotte, N.C., where he will make his fourth minor league rehabilitation start for Norfolk on Tuesday night.