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Orioles pregame: Second baseman Jonathan Schoop returns to starting lineup

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop returned to the Orioles' starting lineup for Monday night's series opener against the Washington Nationals after testing his right hand during pregame drills.

Schoop was hit by a pitch in Friday night's game against the White Sox and missed the last two games of the weekend series against Chicago. Orioles manager Buck Showalter was optimistic Schoop could return Monday provided he came through batting practice without incident.

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The return of Schoop brings one of the lineup's hottest hitters back into the fold. Schoop is batting .342/.375/.608 with 11 extra-base hits (six doubles, five homers) and16 RBIs over his past 22 games. He went 1-for-4, including a double, Monday night.

Before missing Saturday night's game, Schoop had played in 190 straight games, including all 162 last season.

-- Showalter said right-hander Chris Tillman felt good Monday, the day after making his first start of the season after opening the year on the disabled list with what the team called right shoulder bursitis.

"That's good to see. So so far, so good," Showalter said. "That's a pretty easy read by his face."

Tillman, who overcame early control problems to go five scoreless innings in a 93-pitch outing in the Orioles' 4-0 win over the White Sox, would next be in line to pitch Friday night in Kansas City.

-- The Orioles don't expect a report on closer Zach Britton's visit with orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles until after Monday's game.

Britton, who had a recurrence of the left forearm strain that has landed him on the DL for the second time this season, was scheduled to see ElAttrache, who is also the Dodgers' team physician, on Monday in L.A. to determine his next step. Britton said Saturday that an MRI performed Friday looked the same as one done before he went on the DL on April 16.

-- Catcher Francisco Pena is available Monday after leaving Sunday's game with cramping throughout his right arm.

"They talked about giving him an IV, but [with] Pedialyte and all the other stuff, he's fine today.  He's fine today. … I didn't realize it's happened [more often]. Talked to a couple other catchers who said it's happened to them. At first, I thought it was just a spasm. I'm sure you could see his thumb; it was all the way up his arm and really his whole body. So he's good, he's ready to go."

-- Outfielder Michael Bourn was scheduled to join Triple-A Norfolk on Monday after spending the past few weeks in extended spring training recovering from the finger injury he suffered early in spring training while attempting to catch a football.

Showalter said it's just a matter now of Bourn getting at-bats in Triple-A before he becomes an option for the major league club, saying the team will likely have an idea of where he is within a week.

"We all know what Mike is capable of," Showalter said. "I think it's more about the level of play and getting some at-bats against that level. But it won't take long now. I think with Michael, it shouldn't be that long."

Once – or if – the team determines Bourn is ready, it will have to find space on both the 40- and 25-man rosters. The 25-man roster already contains seven outfielders.

"I try not to dwell too much on how that would work," Showalter said. "Somehow those things have a way of solving themselves, but if they don't, an injury or a trade or whatever or just deciding not to bring Mike up here. [General manager Dan Duquette's] got that wired. As we get closer, we find out, 'OK, he's ready to contribute to the club or is he? And then it's, 'OK, now how do we do it?' And sure, you think of different scenarios on how to do it. Go to a nine-man pitching staff or something. It's two part: the level of play and not necessarily how he's doing. He's not going to have any trouble with the finger. I don't think that's going to be an issue."

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