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Orioles notes: Not a priority to see Castro start this year; Givens still needs innings

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

With a week left in the season and the Orioles taking steps to look toward the future on several fronts, manager Buck Showalter said there's no added impetus to see right-hander Miguel Castro work as a starter in the regular season before the team tries him in that role next spring.

"I think because of where we are innings-wise — one of the problems is getting to a spot where we can do that with him because we have to use him in the bullpen," Showalter said. "Like last night, we had to pitch a lot of innings out of the bullpen again, which he does. So it's hard to get him. I don't think it's a priority. I would like to in a perfect world, but because of his inning count, when you look at his background."

Castro, 22, entered Saturday with a 3.29 ERA in 63 relief innings this year, though his 46 2/3 innings since the All-Star break were more than 10 more than the next-highest reliever. Including his 24 1/3 innings at Double-A Bowie, Castro has never thrown more innings in his professional career.

His recent results reflect that some, as he's struggled to limit walks and has allowed runs in each of his past six appearances. That's why Showalter said the priority is to keep him feeling good about his season entering the fall.

"He's a young guy that's kind of making his way in the big leagues and he's doing pretty well in that role, then all of a sudden you put him in the rotation and he really struggles or something and then you try to put him back there — I just really want him to end the year thinking good about his future or where he's going," Showalter said. "It could be as a starter. We could start him and have him pitch two or three innings in that role, but the problem is getting there with two or three days off because we're having to use him to get through games and stay competitive with that."

Givens innings not an issue: Reliever Mychal Givens' two scoreless innings Friday gave him 75 for the season, passing the career-high 74 2/3 he set last year.

Showalter doesn't believe there's any limitations on him going forward, though.

"With Mike, it's good for him," Showalter said. "He's obviously not thrown many innings in his career. He needs — I think sometimes we forget how few reps and how little experience he has s a professional pitcher. It was a pretty fast move to the big leagues, and we try to keep that in mind. I think every rep he can get is good for him. Physically, he's in good shape. He's not even in the league leaders in appearances. You tell me it's a career high, that tells you how much other guys have been used.”

Givens' 66 appearances entering Saturday also tied his career high, while his 75 innings were 10th-most among relievers this year. He has a 2.76 ERA.

Around the horn: Right-hander Kevin Gausman will make his 33rd start of the season Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. ... The Orioles honored all of their minor league award winners, including outfielder Austin Hays, on Saturday evening. ... Showalter said closer Zach Britton, who had a stem cell injection in his left knee on Friday, is "still a little sore. I think he's got one more day before that starts going the other direction."

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