Two pitchers who came about their chance to start this weekend for the Orioles in different ways and have seemingly waited an eternity to pitch this season — Mike Wright and Vance Worley — are scheduled to take the mound with something to prove.
Wright, the team's fourth starter who was pushed back a day because of Chris Tillman's short start on Opening Day, is scheduled to make his 10th career major league start Saturday opposite left-hander Drew Smyly on what promises to be a cold day at the ballpark.
That he gets to make the start at all as a member of the Opening Day roster and starting rotation was "step one" in the process, he said.
"My goal all offseason was to make the rotation," Wright said. "I knew there were five solid spots [taken], but there's always stuff that happens. It's a shame what happened to [Miguel Gonzalez]. It's a shame that Kevin [Gausman] is hurt, but that's the kind of things you know in the offseason are going to happen.
"Something happens every offseason, so I feel like I put myself in a good situation now and I'm really happy to be here," he said.
"Obviously try to go out there and give your team the best chance to win," he said. "If I keep doing that, I think I'm going to find myself a spot. It's exciting."
The weather may impact what happens Saturday, but if all goes as scheduled it will be Worley who finally gets to take the mound Sunday.
"I've been itching to even get in a game," he said. "Now, I can start preparing to get out there and pretty much go through my routine. I got to do that today. It's hard being a reliever and trying to get workouts in and not being too beat up out there. I got to go through my normal starting routine for today, tomorrow and get it going Sunday. I'm looking forward to getting out there Sunday."
Worley is one of two pitchers left on the roster (Wright is the other) who hasn't appeared in a game so far. Manager Buck Showalter said he "just thought it would be a good spot" for Worley.
"He needs to get out there and pitch," Showalter said. "Think that's the best way for him. He's had a lot of back and forth: 'Here's where you're pitching,' 'You're going to start this game.' And I think it's time for him to make a contribution. We've had [Tyler Wilson] throw, and he's the only guy really we haven't given an opportunity to yet."
Worley went through a similar game of uncertainty in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Pirates when he spent most of the spring shuffling between the rotation and the bullpen, but was called upon to join the starting rotation at the start of the season.
"That's how it was all spring, so after last year, I think it helped me grow as a person and a player in this game, just to be able to handle whatever's thrown at me," Worley said. "I think it showed this spring. I went out and threw the ball pretty well, with the exception of a couple hits, but I'm looking forward to getting out there."
Around the horn
- Left-hander Brian Matusz pitched a scoreless inning for Double-A Bowie on Friday, and upon returning to Baltimore said he felt good.
"It felt good to throw back-to-back days," Matusz said. "Just made some pitches, throwing all four pitches. It feels good to be healthy."
- If the Orioles and Rays can't get Saturday's game in with freezing temperatures and rain in the forecast, the teams share a mutual day off on Thursday, June 23 ahead of a three-game series at Camden Yards.