ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — The Orioles have shuffled their rotation for the Tampa Bay Rays series, giving rookie right-hander Tyler Wilson a chance to start another big league game.
It also seems likely that rookie Mike Wright, who allowed six runs in three-plus innings Wednesday, will head back to the bullpen, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter wouldn't confirm that.
Showalter said Wilson, Wright and injured right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who could be back to the rotation as early as next week in Boston, could get starts before the season ends.
"We're gonna match up our guys with the teams we're playing and take each night and try to win each game," Showalter said. "I'm not taking anybody out of play."
The Orioles initially announced Chris Tillman as Thursday's starter, Wei-Yin Chen for Friday, Kevin Gausman on Saturday and Ubaldo Jimenez for the series finale Sunday afternoon.
But Wilson, who has allowed just four runs in his previous two Orioles starts, will now get the ball Friday, pushing the rotation back a spot. That means Jimenez will start Monday's game at the Washington Nationals, Tillman will start the following game and Wednesday's spot — which would be Wilson's turn — is listed as TBA.
"I'm just excited to go out and contribute in any way they deem fit," said Wilson, who was called up from Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday for the sixth time this season. "Obviously, I've been in the bullpen [Wednesday] and that was the plan moving forward. But I guess things have changed a little bit. I'm excited for the opportunity to pitch, no matter what the capacity is."
The Orioles' 10th-round draft pick in 2010 out of Virginia, the 25-year-old Wilson has posted a 2-1 record and a 2.19 ERA in six big league games (two starts). He hasn't pitched for the Orioles since a spot start Aug. 3 in Oakland in which he held the Athletics to two runs in 7 2/3 innings. His other start for the Orioles came in the first game of a doubleheader May 28 against the Chicago White Sox. He gave up two runs in six innings in that one.
"He's a baseball player that happens to be a pitcher," Showalter said. "Athletic, can repeat his delivery. Makes up for maybe not being able to light up a radar gun with command and knowledge of pitching. … He's had quite a history of figuring out how to win baseball games. That always plays."
Wilson said he tries not to look at these spot starts as rotation auditions for now or for 2016.
"It's important to just focus on the game at hand. There's a lot of things that go into this game that are out of my control, those decisions that people make," said Wilson, who was 5-5 with a 3.24 ERA in 17 starts with the Tides. "This opportunity that has presented itself tomorrow is just something I have been afforded the opportunity to do. So each time I go out, I just go out there and compete."
He hasn't pitched at all since throwing five innings for the Tides in the playoffs on Sept. 10. So Wilson will be pitching with a week's rest, but he said he's not worried about the layoff. Although he's not sure how long he'll be able to pitch Friday.
"We'll find out when I go out there and I'll go until they take the ball out of my hand," he said. "And that'll take care of itself tomorrow."
Wilson grew up near Richmond, Va., but he said it's too short of notice for his family to make the trip to St. Petersburg, Fla., to be able to see his start in person.
"With the timing and all, I don't think I'll have any family here," Wilson said. "But they'll be watching on TV."
How long Wilson lasts in the rotation depends somewhat on the return of Gonzalez, who has been on the disabled list since Sept. 4. Gonzalez will throw from 120 feet Friday and then could pitch a simulated game later this week. The hope is to have him back for the series at Fenway Park that starts next Friday. Gonzalez is 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA in seven career games (five starts) in Boston.
Givens returns to Tampa
Orioles rookie reliever Mychal Givens, who grew up in the South Tampa area, was back playing at Tropicana Field for the first time since he was a prep star as a shortstop and pitcher.
"It's a good feeling to be home. I haven't played here since high school," said the 25-year-old who was drafted by the Orioles in the second round out of Tampa's H.B. Plant High School in 2009. "It's a good feeling to be back and be around family and friends."
Givens said his phone hasn't been blowing up with comments and requests.
"My friends and family are really good. They'll show up at the game and try to say hi to me then," he said. "I try to focus on the game."
He wasn't sure how many people would be coming to see him, but said he expects a solid representation since he grew up 25 minutes from The Trop.
FanFest in December
The Orioles have scheduled FanFest for Dec. 12, but have yet to formally announce it. The annual fan event is usually held in January or February, but will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center a bit earlier this offseason. FanFest runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with season-ticket holders getting early access at 10 a.m.