Tuesday’s rainout robbed Miguel Castro of receiving his first start of the season, but the right-hander might only have to wait a few more days for that opportunity.
Castro was scheduled to start Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, but after Tuesday’s game was rained out, right-hander Andrew Cashner was pushed back to start Wednesday.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Castro is a candidate to fill an open starting spot for Sunday’s series finale against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Right-hander David Hess, who pitched a quality start in his major league debut in Saturday’s doubleheader, could also fill that spot. Hess is currently scheduled to start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk.
“He’ll still be a candidate,” Showalter said of Castro. “We’ll see how we go.”
Castro hasn’t pitched since Thursday, when he logged a season-high 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of right-hander Chris Tillman in an 11-6 win over the Kansas City Royals. Since then, Tillman has landed on the disabled list with a lower back strain, opening a rotation spot.
Because it’s been a week since he pitched, Castro could be used in relief Thursday night and still be available to start Sunday, but probably not if he’s needed to pitch extended innings Friday or Saturday in Boston.
Castro entered spring training in the mix for a rotation spot, but that opportunity went away when the Orioles signed Cashner, Tillman and Alex Cobb during camp. Castro went back to the bullpen, where he continued to provide valuable multiple-inning length, but the team is still clinging to the hope that his future can be as a starter.
“I think we came out of last year with that – I don’t know if [it’s] curiosity but that possibility that it could be there,” Showalter said. “You know, I’ve talked to him some about it and I asked him one time in the spring in a perfect world that scenario would he [prefer]. Some guys like the bullpen. He’s been there for a while, but the way we’ve used him, it makes you think that he could start. If you notice, anytime he’d had [an outing of] three innings or more, the changeup has played more. It’s such a feel pitch. Part of me was kind of looking forward to seeing how [he’d do].”
O’Day could return in Boston
Orioles right-hander Darren O’Day could be activated from the DL as early as before Friday’s game in Boston, Showalter said.
O’Day came out of his bullpen session before Wednesday’s game well. It was his second side session since landing on the DL with a hyperextended right elbow.
The club will re-evaluate O’Day on Thursday, at which time it should decide whether to activate him Friday. He became eligible to return Wednesday.
Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Alex Presley has an opt-out in his minor league deal that gives the Orioles until Thursday to add him to the 25-man roster or allow him to become a free agent.
The left-handed-hitting Presley, who has played 450 major league games, entered Wednesday hitting .275/.347/.367 with a .766 OPS against right-handed pitching, in 26 games with Norfolk.
Asked whether it’s important for the Orioles to have a left-handed-hitting outfielder – the team has all right-handed-hitting outfielders since switch-hitter Anthony Santander was optioned over the weekend – Showalter said: “Not necessarily.”
“It depends on who it is,” Showalter said. “It’s like, would you like to have a left-handed-hitting catcher, a left-handed-hitting DH? There’s so many reverse[-split] pitchers now.”
The Orioles must also make a decision on an opt-out in lefty reliever Josh Edgin’s minor league deal. Edgin, a veteran of 177 major league games, went into Wednesday with a 4.34 ERA in 18 2/3 innings with the Tides.
Around the horn
Showalter said the teams “tried and tried” to get Tuesday’s game in before postponing it after a delay of more than three hours. “We kept getting those windows and it kept closing up,” Showalter said. “It’s tough.” … Showalter said there’s no timetable for Tillman’s return from the DL. “As soon as we get all the soreness and physical stuff behind him, we’ll start [mapping it out],” Showalter said. “We haven’t set up that schedule yet.” Tillman will report to the team’s spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., when the team goes on the road.