New York — Right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez will remain in the Orioles starting rotation, and is scheduled to make his next start in Sunday's series finale at Yankee Stadium.
The Orioles have yet to formally announce Sunday's starter, but manager Buck Showalter said it will likely be Jiménez, who allowed three runs over five innings in his most recent start Monday in a 4-3 loss at the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I think Ubaldo's coming off a good start," Showalter said. "It will probably be Ubaldo. … That's probably what we're going to do."
Jiménez, who said before Thursday's opener in New York that he didn't know whether he'd start Sunday, would throw a between-starts bullpen session Friday, the only step stopping Sunday's start from becoming official.
Jiménez's pitching line in his last start really didn't indicate how well he pitched. The Blue Jays scored two runs in the second inning in a frame that included two costly fielding errors. The only other run he allowed was on a solo homer by Ryan Goins.
Showalter said there were really just two options — Jiménez and right-hander Chris Tillman — and the Orioles manager has shuffled both in an out of the bullpen in recent weeks. But neither has had success against the Yankees this season, so Showalter had decided to go with momentum by tabbing Jiménez.
Jiménez made two starts against the Yankees this year, both of them in the season's first month, and he didn't go deeper than 4 1/3 innings in either. He allowed seven runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings in his one start in New York on April 29.
The move also allows the Orioles to continue to give right-hander Dylan Bundy additional rest. After throwing six innings of one-run ball Tuesday, Bundy has logged 165 1/3 innings in his first season as a full-time starter. Now that Showalter has seven starting options, including Tillman and Friday's starter Gabriel Ynoa, he has the flexibility to move pitchers around to allot extra rest for Bundy and right-hander Kevin Gausman, who entered Thursday tied for the league lead with 31 starts.
Castillo returns to starting lineup
Catcher Welington Castillo returned to the Orioles' starting lineup after missing parts of only three games because of his second testicular injury in five months.
"He wanted to play yesterday," Showalter said. "We thought it was best to wait another day. Tough guy."
Castillo left Monday's game in Toronto after a foul tip off the bat of Blue Jays catcher Miguel Montero hit him in the groin area. He suffered the same type of injury on May 30, and was forced onto the 10-day disabled list.
"Even umpires behind the plate, every time you go out there, you've got a chance to have some real physical issue, because that ball is traveling really fast," Showalter said.
This time, the injury wasn't as serious. Even though he required an emergency room visit in Toronto for precautionary tests, he avoided what would have been his third DL stint of the season.
"You know, he's missed what, 18-20 games with different stuff over the course of the year?" Showalter said. "It's been frustrating for him. He would have liked to have been out there more [often]."
Calling on a start for Castro?
There's now no question that the Orioles see Miguel Castro as a future rotation option, but Showalter poured water on the notion of the 22-year-old receiving a start over the season's final weeks while leaving the door slightly open for the possibility.
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"There's always a chance," Showalter said. "He's doing so well there and he's serving such a need. To be really frank with you, a lot of things like that, especially with a young player, he's basically a college senior and he's having his first success in the big leagues. And now all of a sudden you start him, but it doesn't work out and then you stick him back [in the bullpen]. Is he the same guy going back? I think we all know where we'd like for that to end up. Timing is everything.
"I think it's kind of when, not if."
Castro has been a valuable reliever, offering a multi-inning bridge to the team's late-inning pitchers, posting a 2.83 ERA over his first 57 1/3 innings. Castro has allowed runs in each of his past three appearances, though in his last outing on Monday, he allowed a run without the letting a ball out of the infield.
Around the horn
Showalter said outfielder Anthony Santander will play in the Arizona Fall League in order to get additional at-bats heading into next season, when the Orioles must continue to carry him on the 25-man roster to fulfill his Rule 5 draft requirements. Playing time for Santander, who was added to the active roster on Aug. 16 after spending the entire season on the DL, has been limited. He entered Thursday having seen action in just six games – making two starts in right field – and was 2-for-12. … A malfunction in the Yankee Stadium public address system forced a delay in the start of Thursday's game and prevented the Yankees from holding a moment of silence to honor former player, scout, coach, manager and executive Gene Michael and doing the national anthem. Players also didn't receive introductions throughout the game.