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Orioles notebook: Monday's game against Nationals postponed by rain

Members of the grounds crew squeegee rainwater off the tarp the Washington Nationals and the Orioles were rained out at Nationals Park, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Washington.
Members of the grounds crew squeegee rainwater off the tarp the Washington Nationals and the Orioles were rained out at Nationals Park, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Washington. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — The Orioles' scheduled series opener against the Washington Nationals on Monday was postponed because of inclement weather and will be made up Thursday at 4:05 p.m. at Nationals Park.

This is the final series the regional rivals will play this season; they met at Camden Yards from July 10-12. Since the Orioles and Nationals shared a common day off Thursday, the game was rescheduled for then instead of a doubleheader on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

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The postponement erases the Orioles' only remaining day off this season. They will conclude the regular season by playing games on 13 consecutive days.

The Orioles have had their share of impromptu scheduling adjustments this season. They had just one rainout — their home game against the Cleveland Indians on June 27 was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader one day later. But the Baltimore riots also impacted the Orioles schedule early in the season. Games against the Chicago White Sox on April 27 and 28 were postponed and played as a doubleheader on May 28, and a three-game home series against the Tampa Bay Rays from May 1-3 was moved to St. Petersburg, Fla..

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The Orioles and Nationals held out hope of playing Monday, waiting nearly 70 minutes before calling the game, but the forecast provided no window to play.

The Orioles will remain on turn with their starting pitching.

Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, Monday's scheduled starter, will start Tuesday. Right-hander Chris Tillman will now start Wednesday's game and rookie right-hander Tyler Wilson, who was given the nod for Wednesday's game, will pitch Thursday.

Monday's scheduled Nationals starter, left-hander Gio Gonzalez, will now pitch Tuesday. But the Nationals have not yet released their starters for the final two games of the series. Right-hander Tanner Roark and right-hander Max Scherzer were scheduled to pitch Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

For fans who have tickets for Monday's postponed game, those tickets are good for Thursday's makeup game. They can also be exchanged for another 2015 home game at the Nationals Park box office.

Gonzalez nearing a return

Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game before Wednesday's contest versus the Nationals, could make two starts during the final homestand of the year.

There was an initial hope that he could pitch this weekend at Boston's Fenway Park, where he is 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA in seven career games (five starts). But manager Buck Showalter said he thought that would "probably be too quick."

"I really felt good about him feeling good [Monday] after [Sunday's bullpen session] because he stretched it out pretty good on the side," Showalter said. "And I know [pitching coach Dave Wallace] and him are upbeat about it, so if things go well Wednesday, we'll consider where we go from there."

Gonzalez has not pitched since Aug. 30 because of elbow and shoulder tendinitis. He said after having no discomfort following Sunday's 30-pitch bullpen session that he is ready to get back in the rotation. He has a 6.04 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break, so he badly wanted to pitch again before the season ends.

"It is [important], especially the way the second half went for me. If I finish strong, that obviously is going to be a good sign. And they want to see it as well," Gonzalez said. "It really all depends how everything keeps going, and right now, it's good. I'm definitely excited."

Wilson to start, Wright to relieve

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With Wilson starting Thursday's series finale against the Nationals, Showalter said fellow rookie right-hander Mike Wright, who had been in the rotation, will work out of the bullpen for now.

Wilson allowed six runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings Friday in an 8-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Showalter said after that outing that he would like Wilson to get back on the major league mound as soon as possible.

"We've already seen Tyler pitch some out of that bullpen," Showalter said. "We'll probably, at some point, like to see Mike, how he looks out of there."

Around the horn

Catcher Matt Wieters was not in Monday's lineup, but was scheduled to start back-to-back days behind the plate in the last two games of this series Tuesday and Wednesday. That would be the fourth time this season he has done that, but the third time this month. Monday's postponement could affect that schedule because Wieters still isn't expected to start against Gonzalez on Tuesday. … Outfielder Junior Lake would have gotten his first start at center field in place of Adam Jones (back spasms) if Monday's game had been played. Lake has 65 games in center in his major league career, all with the Chicago Cubs. … Orioles 2015 first-round draft pick DJ Stewart injured his left ankle during instructional league Monday in Sarasota, Fla., backing up a base while playing the outfield. It's considered a mild sprain, but he will undergo precautionary X-rays. … Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson and pitching coach Mike Griffin have joined the Orioles staff in Washington. Johnson will remain with the Orioles for the remainder of the season. Griffin will stay through the Boston road trip and then be replaced on the final homestand by Double-A Bowie pitching coach Alan Mills. … Singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran was at Nationals Park before Monday's game. He is in town to play a concert at the Verizon Center in Washington.

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Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

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