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Viola likeliest candidate for promotion

With Brian Matusz optioned to Triple-A Norfolk late Thursday night, the Orioles will recall a reliever from the minors for Friday's game in Atlanta.

The most likely candidate is Double-A Bowie left-hander Pedro Viola, who is already on the club's 40-man roster and has pitched one game in the big leagues this year. He retired all five batters he faced, striking out two, against the Seattle Mariners on May 30.

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When the Orioles designated lefty specialist Clay Rapada for assignment on Wednesday it left them with just one left-hander in the bullpen and Viola would fill that void.

Viola, 28, is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 24 games for Bowie this year and was named to the Eastern League All-Star team.

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The club does have an open spot on their 40-man if they wanted to purchase the contract of someone else, such as veteran lefty Mark Hendrickson.

Who will take Matusz's rotation spot when it comes up – likely July 5 in Texas – has not been determined. The most likely candidates are from the current bullpen: Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken or Alfredo Simon, all of whom have started in the majors before.

Bergesen has started for the Orioles nine times this season, and threw three scoreless innings on Wednesday versus the Cardinals.

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