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Orioles manager Buck Showalter wanted to see how deep he'd have to dip into his bullpen in Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium before deciding on his starting pitcher for Friday's home series opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

But Showalter was forced to use six relievers — including three options to start Friday — to cover nine innings in the Orioles' 6-4 win over the Dodgers in 14 innings.

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The day off Thursday would allow Showalter to start right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez on turn, and Jimenez remains the most likely internal candidate to pitch Friday especially since he threw a bullpen session before Wednesday's game.

Jimenez, who has remained in the Orioles rotation almost by default, allowed six runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings in his last start on Sunday in Seattle.

The Orioles' other option is recalling right-hander Mike Wright from Triple-A Norfolk to start Friday's game. Wright has a 0.87 ERA in three starts since being sent to the minor leagues.

"We're down to Jimenez, and I think Mike Wright is the starter tomorrow, so those will be two," Showalter said.

Other internal options included right-hander Vance Worley, right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne and right-hander Dylan Bundy, but all three pitched Wednesday. Bundy threw 56 pitches in 2 1/3 scoreless innings, Worley went two scoreless innings on 21 pitches, and Despaigne threw 15 pitches in a scoreless inning.

Showalter said all three would be unavailable to start Friday.

The day off will help the bullpen recover, but the Orioles might now need to make multiple moves to replenish their bullpen for Friday.

One factor could be whether right-handed reliever Mychal Givens goes on the three-day paternity list Friday.

Givens and his wife are expecting the birth of their first child any day now, and if he goes on the paternity list Friday, it would allow the Orioles to add an extra bullpen arm. It would allow them to add right-hander Tyler Wilson before the mandatory 10 days a player must stay in the minors. Wilson hasn't pitched since the Orioles optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday with hopes of giving the rookie rest before the break.

Machado remains at third on Hardy's day off

Shortstop J.J. Hardy was given the day off Wednesday, but Showalter kept Manny Machado at third base and started utility man Ryan Flaherty at shortstop.

Machado, who turned 24 on Wednesday, made 42 starts at shortstop when Hardy was on the disabled list. But Showalter said he wants to keep Machado at his primary position.

"There's a lot of requirements to play shortstop like you have to play in the big leagues," Showalter said. "And he's capable of doing that and he did it well for us. He was able to maintain a level of play, which is why I was careful about yo-yoing him back and forth."

Machado, a two-time Gold Glove winner at third, was selected by the fans to start there in the All-Star Game.

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"It's not like he's takes days off by playing third base," Showalter said. "That's challenging, too, but not some of the requirement you have to play shortstop in the major leagues. And he had a respect for that before he played there, but he was trying to get J.J. back for the right reasons, because it makes our club better."

Tillman to open second half?

Right-hander Chris Tillman, who improved to 11-2 on Tuesday, will start the Orioles' final game before the break Sunday, but Showalter didn't commit to starting Tillman on Friday when the regular season resumes.

Tillman would be the most likely candidate to start the first game of the second half of the season. He has been the team's best pitcher going into the break and Showalter likes pitching Tillman on regular rest. Tillman has made nine of his 18 starts this season on regular rest, and is 7-1 with a 3.74 ERA pitching every fifth day.

Roster moves

The Orioles optioned outfielder Dariel Alvarez to Norfolk and left-hander Jayson Aquino to Double-A Bowie after Wednesday's game.

eencina@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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