Orioles right-hander Miguel Castro was scheduled to join the growing list of suitors to take over the vacant rotation spot left by right-hander Chris Tillman, but his first shot at the role fell victim to the rain.

Castro was scheduled to start Wednesday's matinee against the Philadelphia Phillies, but Tuesday's rainout has pushed that night’s scheduled starter, Andrew Cashner, back a day in the rotation. Castro will be available in relief Wednesday and could be a candidate to start Sunday in Boston. Cashner had been listed as Sunday’s scheduled starter but now won’t pitch that game because he wouldn’t be on full rest.


Castro last pitched Thursday with 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Tillman, who retired just four batters and struggled badly again before being placed on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain.

That performance, in addition to everything the Orioles have seen from Castro in the year-plus since he was acquired from the Colorado Rockies, have the Orioles ready to give him perhaps his longest look as a starter to date.

“We wouldn’t be [just] giving it to him,” manager Buck Showalter said before the rainout. “He deserves it. He’s earned it, and he’s also stretched out with pitches and everything to present himself as a starter. I don’t know if we’d ever be in a better position to do that than we are now with his background. I think he’s got one extra day [of rest]. … But he’s doing a nice and needed job out of the bullpen. But also, if we get deeper in our games from a starting standpoint, our need for what Miguel brings won’t be as much.”

That most recent outing for Castro brought into focus both the value he has as a lockdown, innings-eating reliever and the promise he has long held in the Orioles' eyes to be a starter. They gave him a start Sept. 30 in the second to last game of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays last year, but Castro was tiring at that point from the heaviest relief workload of any pitcher in the major leagues in the second half and allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings.

He prepared to be a starter entering spring training this year, and was part of a competition to win a rotation spot that had no winners after the Orioles signed Tillman, Cashner and Alex Cobb. But Castro battled knee and back injuries before reverting to a relief role, where he's had a 3.55 ERA in 25 1/3 innings over 15 appearances this season. Earlier this year, on the anniversary of his joining the Orioles, Castro said he struggled some in the spring with the physical requirements of being a starter and noted how his body and arm had grown accustomed to relieving since he last started regularly in Single-A with the Toronto Blue Jays as a 19-year-old in 2014.

Castro said six weeks of relieving constantly, and being stretched out recently, make him feel like this will be different.

“I feel great right now, physically and mentally,” Castro said before the rainout through team interpreter Ramón Alarcón. “So, the whole idea is to help my team with all of my pitches and try to get a win tomorrow.”

Showalter made clear before Tuesday’s game that while the Orioles have gotten only glimpses of what Castro can do as a starter, how he’s performed over the course of the past year makes it clear to them that he can.

“I don’t know about a true look — we got some things that made us kind of go, ‘Maybe he could,’ ” he said. “At one point, he was, and they kind of force-fed him as a closer in Toronto, and I'm sure they had great reasons for it. I can see why. But at some point, all along, we were hoping that he would be able to get back to that. Initially, it was more about the upside of him and trying to keep [him]. But last year, he presented himself in some longer roles that made us think about it, think about getting back to that and when. He’s going to have to defend himself against left-handed hitters, hold runners, do all the things that starters have to do to maintain a good outing. The changeup, I think, should play better as a starter as he gets more feel for it, which is going to be big for him.”

If he gets a start, Castro would be the eighth pitcher to make a start this year for the Orioles, with Mike Wright Jr. keeping Cobb’s spot warm earlier in the season and Cashner, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman being constants around Tillman. Rookie David Hess debuted Saturday with a quality start and remains a candidate to rejoin the rotation this weekend in Boston, where the Orioles will possibly try to cushion the rotation with a run of 20 days without a day off beginning Tuesday. While right-handers Hunter Harvey and Yefry Ramirez are also pitching well in the minors and on the 40-man roster, Hess and Castro seem to be the front-runners to permanently replace Tillman in the near term.

“David wasn’t able to pitch, either,” Showalter said. “He would have been a candidate, too. But I’m hoping Miguel takes the opportunity and runs with it. A tough situation — 12:35 p.m. game, the weather kind of iffy. I know Miguel, he’s going to look at it as a great opportunity.”

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