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Orioles notes: Pitching staff needs reset Monday and starter Wednesday

Even with the addition of left-hander Donnie Hart to the bullpen Sunday, there's plenty of uncertainty facing Orioles' pitching staff in the coming week.

After Andrew Cashner starts Tuesday following the scheduled day off Monday, manager Buck Showalter said, the club will need a starting pitcher for Wednesday's matinee against the Philadelphia Phillies, with right-hander Kevin Gausman getting an extra day of rest and pitching the series opener in Boston on Thursday night.

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"We're going to play 20 days in a row after [Monday's day off]," Showalter said. "Every chance I can go give those guys an extra day, I'm going to, with very few exceptions. But I want to give Gaus [a day]. He had two extended outings.

Also, once they get on every fifth day — it's been between the weather and off-days and stuff — I'm looking forward to them getting on more of a set routine, too, if the weather will cooperate. The doubleheader kind of moved some things around, too. I'm hoping that the off-day helps us get back on our feet a little bit. We're kind of resetting some things after today."

The Orioles don't have to wait the customary 10 days to bring back right-hander David Hess after he was returned to Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday night after six quality innings in his big league debut that afternoon. He'll be a candidate to start later in the Boston series, possibly Sunday after Alex Cobb and Dylan Bundy take their turns after Gausman.

But Wednesday's starter is the more pressing concern, and one the Orioles are monitoring more closely. Right-hander Miguel Castro, who pitched 4 2/3 of shutout relief Thursday and hasn't pitched since, could be a candidate if the Orioles are able to avoid using him Sunday and Tuesday.

Candidates in the minors include top pitching prospect Hunter Harvey, who pitched five innings for the first time in almost four years after missing most of the previous three seasons with injuries. The team has often stated its desire to leave him alone in the minors and let him build back his innings and work on his secondary pitches, but he's scheduled to start again Tuesday night for Double-A Bowie and could be pressed into action if there's no better candidate.

Among the other pitchers on the 40-man roster, Jimmy Yacabonis won't be eligible after pitching Saturday for the Orioles and being sent down on Sunday morning for Hart. Wednesday would be right-hander Yefry Ramirez's turn to pitch, and he's found his form at Norfolk of late. Ramirez, a 24-year-old right-hander, has pitched into the sixth inning and allowed three runs or fewer in his past three starts, striking out 22 in that span and allowing 18 runners in 18 innings. Left-hander Chris Lee doesn't have the innings built up after starting late with an oblique strain.

Yacabonis optioned for Hart

Yacabonis gave up his spot in the bullpen for Hart on Sunday, a day after Yacabonis walked three and allowed a run in 1 1/3 innings of relief.

"We need a pitcher today, where Donnie is concerned," Showalter said. "Yacabonis threw 38 pitches last night, and he's going to hopefully continue to work on his command and backing up third base."

Hart has pitched well at Norfolk, allowing five runs in 15 2/3 innings over 13 appearances, with 11 of those scoreless. All five runs and 15 of his 25 base runners allowed came in the two other outings. He also pitched 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief over two appearances for the Orioles last month in Boston.

Waiting on Álvarez

Showalter said designated hitter Pedro Álvarez had until Tuesday to prove his balky hamstring wasn't a problem before the team made a decision.

"Pete's closer every day," Showalter said. "He's closer to being able to be used today. But if for some reason he wasn't today, if he's not a player Tuesday, we'd have to look at something else. But I'm hoping that by the time we get going in the game, he's available today. We felt like with [left-hander Blake] Snell starting today, the potential of [left-hander Anthony] Banda pitching last night, that we were willing to wait on him. I'm hoping at the very worst he's a player on Tuesday."

Around the horn

Showalter said right-handed reliever Darren O'Day (elbow) was scheduled to throw Sunday and likely wouldn't need a rehab outing before returning close to his eligibility date to return from the disabled list Wednesday. ... Showalter said there's still been no discussion about the next step for right-handed starter Chris Tillman, who went on the disabled list Friday with a lower back strain.

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