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After pair of extra-inning wins, Orioles sit in roster limbo heading into makeup game at Nationals

After playing back-to-back extra-inning games against the Pittsburgh Pirates the past two nights, the Orioles could use a day off Thursday. But instead, they'll travel down Interstate-95 to make up a May 11 rainout against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.

In the Orioles' 9-6, 11-inning win over the Pirates, the bullpen had to account for 8 1/3 innings after left-hander Wade Miley failed to get through the third inning.

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Add in the uncertain status of third baseman Manny Machado – who left the game in the top of the fourth inning after suffering a gash on the top of his left hand – and the Orioles have a few questions to answer before making the bus trip to Washington.

"I don't know yet," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I know we'll probably do some precautionary things in case we find something out tomorrow. Fortunately, we're not traveling tonight. There will be some decisions we'll probably have to make tomorrow. We'll have to do some things as far as pitching. That's another. There are two issues here. The infield, especially with a National League game. It would have been a great day to have a day off tomorrow like it was scheduled before we got a game called off."

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X-rays on Machado's left hand came back negative, and Showalter said the club was trying to set up a precautionary MRI to better gauge the severity of the injury.

The Orioles have only seven infielders on the organizational 40-man roster, and the only infielder not on the active 25-man roster or on the disabled list (utility man Ryan Flaherty) is infielder Luis Sardinas, who is at Triple-A Norfolk. The club just outrighted utility infielder Paul Janish to Norfolk after he was designated for assignment to make 40-man roster space.

If Machado is unable to play Thursday, the importance of having an extra infielder on the bench is magnified by playing under National League rules.

Also, after Miley's early exit, the Orioles used five relievers Wednesday. If the club needs a fresh bullpen arm, right-hander Mike Wright would appear to be the leading candidate to be optioned to Norfolk after accounting for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Miley.

Wright stranded two inherited runners in the third, allowed just one hit and struck out three, recording the second-longest relief outing of his major league career.

But since right-hander Edwin Jackson – who threw 2 2/3 innings in his Orioles debut Wednesday – and right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez – cannot be sent to the minor leagues, Wright's reward for a strong outing could be a trip back to Norfolk.

Because Thursday's rescheduled game took away a day off, the Orioles will be playing their third game of a 20-day, 20-game stretch through the month of June.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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