CLEVELAND — Matt Wieters, who made his regular-season debut Friday night, is back in the Orioles starting lineup Saturday as the team's designated hitter against Cleveland Indians right-hander Danny Salazar.
The DH spot has been occupied mostly by Jimmy Paredes, who is struggling through a 2-for-32 slump over his past nine games.
"I'm not going to DH Matt every time, but I want him to get back in the flow of the offense," Showalter said. "Plus, he stretches out this lineup a little bit and makes us better. It puts some challenges for us with pinch hitting or pinch running with Caleb [Joseph], but same with Matt."
The switch-hitting Paredes is still hitting .319 from the left side of the plate against right-handed pitching, but Salazar holds left-handed hitters to a .221 average compared to a holding righties to a .248 average.
Thirty-five of Paredes' 41 starts this season have come at the DH position.
"Jimmy can play other places," Showalter said. "As good of a pitcher as Salazar is, you're looking for every little [advantage]," Showalter said. "He's a reverse split guy."
Adam Jones has hit homers in back-to-back games – both to give the Orioles the lead later in the game – and looks to be rebounding from a May in which he hit .239. Jones is 7-for-19 in five June games (including 7-for-12 the past three games), hitting .368 with two triples, two homers and three RBIs this month.
Still, Showalter tempered expectations that Jones could duplicate an April in which he carried the Orioles offense. Jones hit .400 with five homers and 19 RBIs in 20 games in April.
"With Adam, they've made a couple mistakes on him," Showalter said. "I don't know if anybody here, including Adam, could get to that form again. ... That's some of the reason we're still engaged in this thing, because Adam had that kind of April. … We're a Salazar or a Carrasco away from somebody saying what's wrong with Adam? It's not because he's not capable, but the chances of him getting to that level again are not very good."
Brian Matusz, serving the second game of his eight-game suspension, threw two innings in an extended spring training game Saturday. Showalter said he struck out six batters.
"Brady [Anderson] said that was about as good as he's seen him throw the ball," Showalter said. "That went well today. I'm glad Brian got down there.
Matusz, whose suspension was upheld Friday following his appeal, is eligible to return to the team next Sunday.
Left-hander Wesley Wright also pitched an inning in an extending spring game. Showalter said that Wright will likely throw one more outing before he becomes an option to go on a minor league rehabilitation assignment.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman is making his first minor league start tonight since going on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. He's slated to throw three innings (or 45 pitches) for high Single-A Frederick at Wilmington.
Showalter said Gausman will pitch four innings in his next start as he builds his innings to be an option for the big league starting rotation after starting this season in the bullpen.
"We could take him after two [starts], but it's probably going to be three to be an option if we need it," Showalter said. "He won some games for us this year out of the 'pen and he did last year when he started. He came back as not only a better starter but a better reliever, but also we're going to manage his innings a little, but not much. His innings are fine [right now]. I'm trying to put him in a position to be a starter for us next year."
Knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa had his best outing at Triple-A Norfolk on Friday, throwing six scoreless innings and allowing just two hits while striking out five and walking one. Right-hander Dane De La Rosa made his first appearance back from meniscus surgery last September, throwing a scoreless inning in that game for the Tides. He allowed no hits, struck out two and walked one. Also in Friday's game, reliever Jorge Rondon's fastball was clocked at 96-98 mph.
Here are the starting lineups for today:
Manny Machado 3B
Delmon Young RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters DH
Steve Pearce LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Caleb Joseph C
Ubaldo Jimenez RHP
Jason Kipnis 2B
Carlos Santana 1B
Michael Brantley LF
Brandon Moss RF
Nick Swisher DH
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B
Yan Gomes C
Michael Bourn CF
Jose Ramirez SS
Danny Salazar RHP