The Orioles' series opener against the Oakland Athletics at Camden Yards on Friday was postponed by rain and will be made up as part of a split-admission doubleheader on Saturday.
The postponement of Friday's game, which was announced about 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, is the latest in an early season full of weather-related delays and postponements.
Over the first five weeks of the season, games at Camden Yards have been almost exclusively cold, dreary and especially damp throughout April and into May.
"Trying to predict weather? What's the saying? If you want to make God laugh tell him about your plans," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said on Friday afternoon. "Nobody really knows. What is it, April showers bring May flowers? I'm waiting for the flowers."
Fans who have tickets and parking passes for Friday's game can use them for admission to the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, which will begin at 1:05 p.m. Gates will open for that game at 11:35 a.m.
The second game of the doubleheader will be played at 7:05 and tickets marked for Saturday's game will be used for that game.
Fans who have tickets for Friday's game and cannot attend Game 1 of the doubleheader can exchange them for a future game this season on a dollar-for-dollar basis. All exchanges are subject to availability and must be completed before July 11. Complimentary tickets are non-exchangeable.
Right-hander Mike Wright, who was slated to start Saturday night's game, will now start the day game, and right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who was scheduled to pitch Friday, will start Saturday's nightcap.
The Athletics will keep their starting pitching in order, with left-hander Rich Hill starting Game 1 of the doubleheader and right-hander Jesse Hahn pitching on Saturday night as scheduled.
This is the Orioles' second postponement in 17 home dates. Their game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 9 was postponed due to wintry conditions. A makeup date has yet to be set.
But that barely goes to show how much bad weather has hindered the Orioles' early season routine. Rain delays for games that were played totaled three hours and 12 minutes.
Opening Day featured two rain delays totaling two hours, 51 minutes, while later that week, a 21-minute rain delay halted their eventual 4-2 win over the Twins.
The Orioles' April 16 road game at Texas was also postponed due to rain, forcing the Orioles to travel back down to Texas on June 20 in the middle of a homestand in order to play a makeup game in Arlington.
Britton feels strong after return
Even though the Orioles deemed closer Zach Britton ready to return from a left ankle injury for Thursday's game — he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings and earned the win after striking out the side in the 10th inning — the true test of his recovery was always going to be how he'd feel after testing his ankle in a game.
"That was the best thing that's happened today so far is that he came in today feeling good," Showalter said Friday.
Britton will still receive daily treatment and pitch with a bulky brace on his left ankle to give the joint added stability, but the fact that Britton had no setback — and got results — in his first game back was a positive.
"It feels pretty similar to when I came in yesterday, just kind of taking it day by day as far as getting treatment on it and being ready for the game, but obviously I just have to stay on top of it for the next few days," Britton said.
The Orioles would like to get back to a four-man bench and Britton's uncertain status played a role in the team keeping an extra reliever. Infielder Paul Janish would be the most likely addition because he gives the Orioles a valuable utility infielder who can play shortstop. Janish was with his wife in Houston on Thursday for the birth of his third child, but he did not go on the paternity list in order to allow the team to add him if he was needed.
But before Friday's game was rained out, Showalter said that it's possible the team sticks with a three-man bench.
"It may not be anybody," he said in reference to the notion that Janish was coming up. "I don't want anybody to think there's a firm commitment. We'd like to. Last night, again, was a challenge. We've been fortunate to overcome it with the bench and you always have to pick when to go for it and throw caution to the wind."
Orioles scout Lincecum
The Orioles were one of several teams to attend two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum's showcase in Arizona on Friday afternoon. The Orioles have long shown interest in Lincecum and monitored his recovery from surgery on his left hip last September to repair a torn labrum.
But since Lincecum is seeking a major league deal — and his showcase was reportedly attended by more than 20 teams – it's unclear how much of a play the Orioles would make for him. They'd be interested if they could make him a minor league deal and add him to their starting pitching inventory, but offering Lincecum a guaranteed major league deal seems unlikely.
Around the horn
The Orioles won last year's season series with Oakland 6-1. … Thursday's 1-0, 10-inning Orioles' win marked the third time — in 1,028 meetings between the Orioles and Yankees — that the two teams were both scoreless after nine innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … Thursday's game marked the fourth homerless game at Camden Yards this season through 15 home dates. There were only eight home games last season in which neither team hit a home run.