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Orioles notes: With Manny Machado out, Chris Davis gets 1st start at third base since 2014

WASHINGTON — With starter Manny Machado (strained left wrist) out Thursday against the Washington Nationals, Orioles manager Buck Showalter's decision to give Chris Davis his first start at third base since 2014 was precipitated by playing an interleague game in a National League park without the benefit of having a designated hitter.

Even though Davis hasn't played third since Sept. 10, 2014, he has the most experience at the position among the Orioles' available options, making 85 previous major league starts there.

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"I think he's started over 300 games there, counting the minor leagues," Showalter said of Davis. "I'm not particularly happy about having to do it, but it's kind of where we are as a club, and because of some of the things that happened the last few days, and because of no DH."

But playing in an NL park, Showalter needed the bench maneuverability to make substitutions later in the game, so he kept the team's only utility infielder, Rubén Tejada, on the bench.

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"There are a lot of things we have to prepare for in a game like this," Showalter said. "He was the guy [we selected]. I talked to him about it today. It was either him or [Mark] Trumbo, or Tejada, but we needed him for versatility."

Davis made 19 starts at third base in 2014, most of them coming late in the season after Machado's year ended because of a knee injury. Davis had an .886 fielding percentage at third that season, committing four errors in 35 chances.

Besides Machado, center fielder Adam Jones was also out of the starting lineup Thursday. Showalter cited Jones being sore after playing the entirety of two consecutive extra-inning games. Jones missed four games late last month with a sore left ankle and hip, but had three homers and seven RBIs in his first seven games after returning.

"We had two challenging games," Showalter said. "He's pretty sore. Just talking with him, I decided that he should get a day off today. … Hopefully, he'll be available later on in the game and tomorrow."

Bullpen remaining intact: The Orioles avoided making a roster move before Thursday's makeup game in Washington, even though the bullpen accounted for 81/3 innings in the Orioles' 9-6 extra-inning win Wednesday night.

The most likely candidate to be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk was right-hander Mike Wright, who tossed 31/3 scoreless innings after starting pitcher Wade Miley's exit in the third.

"One of the reasons is, I and we don't like sending out guys who are doing a really good turn and a good job," Showalter said. "That's what I keep telling the guys that we do have. Mike Wright didn't deserve to go out, and that would have been the guy. I'd rather try to get through tonight, keep him with the team, see if he's back the next day or two and see if he can continue to pitch in this role that he's seemed to have done well [in] so far."

Wright gave the Orioles his most productive and deepest outing of the season Wednesday. Holding the game close allowed the Orioles to come from behind in the later innings to beat the Pirates in extras. It was Wright's first scoreless outing since May 31 in his first appearance of the season.

Earlier this season, optionable relievers were rewarded with tickets back to Norfolk after providing needed length out of the bullpen in order to keep the relief corps fresh. Right-hander Logan Verrett was sent out the day after earning extra-inning wins in relief on two separate occasions.

But Showalter said he hopes the addition of right-hander Edwin Jackson, who allowed a two-run homer in a 22/3-inning relief appearance Wednesday in his Orioles debut, will help. Showalter went into Thursday's game believing Jackson could pitch for a second straight night even though the veteran threw 44 pitches Wednesday.

"In a perfect world, we add a pitcher, but I'd be surprised if Edwin can't pitch today," Showalter said. "It's kind of been his M.O. Edwin is a good example yesterday of a guy who may not have come in and struck everybody out, but he didn't implode. He gave up a home run, but he got right back in there with strike one. So that's something that you're looking for — not necessarily a guy who is always going to be perfect but shows the experience and the veteran that he is. He's always been a really resilient guy."

Tejada ready to help: Tejada, who joined the Orioles on Tuesday, was left on the bench Thursday, but said he's "ready no matter what" if he's asked to spell Machado for an extended period.

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"If there's the opportunity to help the team, I have to be ready," Tejada said. "I hope he gets well, gets better soon, but we're here to help each other. That's why we're here, and I'm ready to go out there and do my job, too."

Tejada went 0-for-4 with a strikeout after replacing Machado on Wednesday, but entered Thursday with a career .252 major league batting average with a .646 OPS in parts of eight seasons, mostly with the New York Mets.

He has experience at second base, shortstop and third base, though he has played just 43 of his 617 career games at third. He played all over the infield for the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before the Orioles acquired him, and said he's just as used to third as he is the other positions.

"I feel good," Tejada said. "I have two or three years playing different positions, so it's nothing new. I just keep doing the same."

Around the horn: Showalter said the club is considering sending catcher Welington Castillo to Trenton, N.J., on Friday for a minor league rehabilitation assignment to play seven innings for Double-A Bowie. Castillo, currently on the disabled list with a testicular injury suffered when getting hit by a deflected pitch, would accompany the team to New York and then report to Trenton. He is eligible to be activated from the DL on Saturday. … After returning home from the West Coast on Wednesday, the Nationals gave several key starters a day off Thursday. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman, third baseman Anthony Rendon and second baseman Daniel Murphy did not start for the Nats.

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Baltimore Sun reporter Jon Meoli contributed to this article.

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