As the Orioles prepared to play in Texas for their makeup game against the Rangers on Monday evening, manager Buck Showalter had little clarity regarding who would fill the team's empty rotation spot Wednesday against the San Diego Padres at Camden Yards.
Whether the Orioles will fill the spot with a pitcher currently throwing out of the bullpen or summon an arm from the minor leagues remains unclear. And in Showalter's eyes, too many things still must play out before making that decision.
Showalter needs to get the club to Thursday's off day. Monday was initially an off day before it became the makeup date for April 17's rainout. The suspension of third baseman Manny Machado — the team is without him through Wednesday — further complicates the situation because the Orioles have to play one man down at 24 players.
"We'll wait until the smoke clears on Monday and Tuesday," Showalter said before Monday's game. "Like yesterday, we're going to do what we have to do to try to win a game and then see where we are at the end of the day. You try to be as proactive as you can, but this is such a moving target. These are the challenges you face with a suspended player, playing at 24. It's a challenge.
"Obviously, we lost a great player, but it also creates a lot of things you can't do during a game," Showalter added. "It's definitely a penalty, especially when you lose a position player, but it affects your pitching staff, too.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who was demoted to the bullpen last week, is an option, but not if he has to be used in long relief before Wednesday. Jimenez is 7-4 with a 3.94 ERA in 13 career appearances against the Padres (Wednesday's opponent), all of those appearances coming with the Rockies under NL rules and none coming since 2011.
Right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne, who is stretched out after pitching in the Triple-A Norfolk rotation before his callup last week, tossed 1 ¿ innings Sunday.
Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Joe Gunkel was a consideration, but he pitched Sunday, allowing two runs on three hits over five innings.
Double-A Bowie right-hander Jason Garcia is pitching well at Double-A Bowie — he is 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA over his last three starts, holding opponents to a .183 average — and is scheduled to start Wednesday, so he could be an option.
Asked if Orioles reliever Dylan Bundy would be a possibility, Showalter said "everybody is in play." But Bundy was used Monday, and he also hasn't gone more than 2 2/3 innings or thrown more than 51 pitches in an outing this season.
Right-hander Mike Wright, who was optioned to Norfolk after his last start of Friday, is slated to start Wednesday for the Tides, but isn't an option. Neither is left-hander T.J. McFarland, who was optioned to Norfolk before Saturday's game. They must stay in the minors at least 10 days unless their return is part of a corresponding disabled list move.
"I wouldn't handicap it," Showalter said, "Really, I've tried to. I'm not withholding something that's going to happen. It's kind of like, [executive vice president Dan Duquette] and I said today, 'Let's see where we are when the smoke clears.' We have options and we're taking precautions to make sure people are available. It could be somebody from our bullpen who starts. It could be somebody from the minor leagues or it could be a relief pitcher to try to cover it. But we're trying to get to that off day on Thursday."
Harvey to throw bullpen session: Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey will make a significant step in his recovery from sports hernia surgery in early May when he throws his first live batting practice session Tuesday at the team's spring training facility in Sarasota.
Harvey, the Orioles' first-round draft pick in 2013, hasn't pitched in an affiliated game since July 2014.
Harvey has struggled to stay on the field since his first full pro season. He was shut down one month early in 2014 because of elbow troubles and a combination of a fractured leg and more elbow soreness robbed him of all of 2015.
Orioles ink draft picks: The Orioles announced the signing of five draft picks, including their third-round selection, college outfielder Austin Hays.
Hays, who was selected by the Orioles with the 91st overall pick out of Jacksonville University following his junior season, was signed at slot for his pick at $665,800. He is reporting to short-season Class-A Aberdeen.
The team also signed ninth-rounder right-handed pitcher Lucas Humpal from Texas State, 10th-rounder right-handed pitcher Cody Dube from Keene State (N.H.), 21st-rounder shortstop Chris Clare from High Point University (N.C.), and 38th-rounder third baseman Collin Woody from UNC-Greensboro.
The Orioles have now signed six of their draft picks, including first-rounder Cody Sedlock out of the University of Illinois.
Around the horn: Players who didn't travel with the team to Texas participated in a workout on Monday afternoon at Camden Yards. The three other starting pitchers were among those who stayed back and included in their practice were bunting drills in preparation for upcoming interleague road series in San Diego and Los Angeles. … Triple-A Norfolk reliever Oliver Drake was named International League Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Drake was 4-for-4 on save opportunities during the week and held opponents to a .077 batting average (1-for-13) with 10 strikeouts and one walk. Drake has logged 14 straight appearances without allowing an earned run. … When Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop combined for eight runs, 10 hits and eight RBIs on Sunday's win, it marked the first time the Orioles' 4-5-6 hitters combined for those numbers since Albert Belle, Will Clark and Cal Ripken, Jr. combined for 13 hits, 12 runs and 12 RBIs in a 22-1 win over Atlanta on June 13, 1999.