KANSAS CITY, MO. — Orioles manager Buck Showalter reiterated his confidence in interim closer Brad Brach before the club's series opener against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
After Brach blew a two-run ninth-inning lead in the Orioles' walk-off loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night, Showalter expressed his faith in the right-hander. But on Thursday, he indicated he would give Brach a couple of days off in anticipation of the day off Monday.
As usual, Showalter wouldn't tip his hand about whether Brach would be available Friday after Thursday's rainout in Washington. But again backed Brach.
"I think where you get in trouble some is when you assume something," Showalter said. "We've been down so many roads with a lot of these guys together that you want to make sure they understand what a long memory you have. It's a very hard job, the job that he's done and had done in the past and will do again. Brad has gotten some huge outs for us over his career in Baltimore and this year."
Brach, who has received most of the team's closing opportunities in the absence of Zach Britton, gave up three runs in the ninth inning Wednesday and has allowed eight runs and 15 base runners in seven innings over his eight appearances before Friday. Brach opened the season tossing 12 scoreless innings over his first 11 outings, and converted his first four save opportunities.
"There's a lot of things that have to happen," Showalter said. "If we don't give up a two-run homer there the inning before, there's a lot of variables for them to turn the page on stuff like that, because how's a guy go 0-for-5 with three punchouts and how does he go the next day? Of course with pitchers, it's a real focus on them when they don't have a good outing. But there's a lot of things you can do to make it not matter as a team. But Brad, you don't assume he knows what I and Roger [McDowell] and his teammates think of him. He's been solid."
Brach said Friday he hadn't been told he'd receive any additional rest, but said his struggles have more to do with executing pitches, getting ahead of hitters and pitching more aggressively.
Davis gets day off: First baseman Chris Davis was out of the Orioles' starting lineup for Friday night's series opener in Kansas City. Showalter said he wanted to take the opportunity to give Davis, who has started 32 of the team's first 34 games, two straight days off including Thursday's rainout.
"He's been playing every day; all of our guys [have]," Showalter said. "Just a lot of things. For the whole group, it fit best for tonight."
For the second time this season, Davis has sat against a left-handed starter. Davis entered the night 1-for-10 against Danny Duffy, who started Friday for the Royals. Davis also didn't start on April 30 against New York Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery.
In both cases, rookie Trey Mancini filled in at first base.
"I want to keep him connected, too," Showalter said. "That's one of the three or four things. It's just today was a good time for it. Regardless of what happens tonight, hopefully it will make us better for the long haul."
Castillo doubling up in Bowie: Orioles catcher Welington Castillo was scheduled to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment Friday at Double-A Bowie before the Baysox's game was postponed by rain. Castillo will now serve as the designated hitter in both games of a doubleheader Saturday.
Castillo will still catch for Bowie on Sunday to get innings behind the plate before returning. He could be activated as soon as Tuesday, after the Orioles' day off Monday.
Around the horn: Showalter said Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Edwin Jackson is "an outing or two away" from becoming an option for the big league club. Jackson has made two appearances for the Tides — one three-inning start and a 12/3-inning relief outing — and has posted a 1.93 ERA. Showalter said the fact that Jackson isn't optionable won't impact the club's decision to promote him if he's the best available pitcher. … Right-hander Gabriel Ynoa (right hamstring strain) has been doing some light throwing off flat ground, but isn't to the point yet where he is ready to throw off a mound. "Hopefully he'll get off the mound here in not too long," Showalter said. … Showalter said the early reports on outfielder Michael Bourn's start at Norfolk are good. "Mike is moving well, playing good in the outfield as we knew, and he doesn't seem to be having any repercussions from the broken finger. That's been encouraging," Showalter said. Bourn entered Friday 3-for-11 with two walks in three games with the Tides. … The Orioles will wear special Mother's Day jerseys and caps both Saturday and Sunday. Those jerseys will be auctioned off on orioles.com/auction to benefit The Breast Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, specifically the John Fetting Fund For Breast Cancer Prevention. Last year's auction raised more than $19,000.