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Orioles notes: Mullins earns Double-A award; Valencia scratched; Britton rehab site undetermined

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Orioles outfield prospect Cedric Mullins earned Eastern League Player of the Week honors Tuesday for a standout stretch at Double-A Bowie, and while his play has drawn some attention from the club's brass in Baltimore, manager Buck Showalter said it's just the regular amount of notice being paid there.

"Not any extra — I always do," Showalter said. "One thing that's been exciting to see is when he left [spring training], in the exit conversation, I tried to tell him some things I wanted him to work on. One of them was from the right side of the plate, and he's hitting over .300 right-handed this year. That's a real tribute to him and the guys working with him down there. That's nice to see."

Mullins, a switch-hitter, batted .560 (14-for-25) with three steals over the period of consideration, May 21 to Sunday, a spell that raised his season average to .319 before he went hitless Monday. Mullins has an .871 OPS and 22 extra-base hits for the Baysox, with very little difference between his swings from each side of the plate.

"Cedric is doing well," Showalter said. "He kind of heated up with the weather. It was kind of tough sledding for a lot of those guys with the weather being so bad."

Valencia scratched

Infielder Danny Valencia, who has developed into an everyday player for the Orioles the past few weeks because of his bat, was scratched just before first pitch.

“His wife, how do I say it? She’s in the process of giving birth and all the things that go with it,” Showalter said. “He came in right before, probably about 6:50, and said they were taking her to the hospital. But until it got to about five minutes later things had changed, so he left. We knew it was coming at some point, so wish him well. I know kind of what’s going on, but it’s from a privacy standpoint. Things are going well for them and their family, and I hope everything comes out well in the next few hours. So, that’s what happened.”

Valencia was set to play third base, but instead, Jace Peterson moved there, with Joey Rickard replacing Peterson in left field. The scratch left the Orioles without a bench infielder, as Pedro Álvarez was already in the lineup as the designated hitter.

Valencia is batting .279/.339/.471 with five home runs, and had started the Orioles’ past four games before being scratched Tuesday. He had a five-game hitting streak.

Britton’s rehab site subject to change

Reliever Zach Britton’s rehab assignment, set to begin Wednesday, might not happen at Triple-A Norfolk as previously thought, Showalter said.

Britton said Tuesday that he was preparing to drive to Norfolk on Tuesday night in advance of his first game inning since offseason Achilles tendon surgery, but Showalter said that assignment might be moved to Wilmington, Del., where High-A Frederick is playing.

"Zach is going to pitch tomorrow," Showalter said. "We had originally planned on it being in Norfolk, but we're still kind of watching the weather. It's iffy. Instead of driving to Norfolk, which he was going to do tonight, and then having a weather issue and have to drive to Wilmington, we're thinking he's going to go to Wilmington today. It's only an hour-plus. Of the four affiliates, that has the best weather right now, but we know how it changes, so we'll make a decision after 5 to which place he's going. I just don't want him to get somewhere and have a weather issue."

Britton believed that he'd pitch twice wherever he was, and would return to Baltimore this weekend to meet with Showalter and the team doctors about what the end of his rehab would look like. Showalter said he would know better as to which path to take to activation once Britton got his first appearance done.

Around the horn

Infielder Luis Sardiñas (back) could begin a rehab assignment this week at Norfolk, Showalter said. ... Reliever Darren O'Day, who had a cortisone shot Friday to speed up the healing process for his hyperextended elbow, was "not a thrower" Tuesday, Showalter said. .... The team does not know when outfielder Colby Rasmus (hip) will begin a rehab assignment. ... Showalter said right-hander Chris Tillman (back strain) threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday in Sarasota. "That was good to see," Showalter said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this article.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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