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Orioles will have six-man rotation for now, but not when second half begins

The Orioles will keep six pitchers in their starting rotation through this week, but manager Buck Showalter said that won’t continue when play resumes after the until the All-Star break.

Left-hander Zach Britton will start Tuesday against the Rangers on regular rest, allowing left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to get an extra day of rest before starting Wednesday’s game in his first outing off the disabled list.

“I guess it is on paper,” Showalter said when asked of the six-man rotation. “We’re trying to give everybody a little extra rest and we can make some adjustments depending on what we do with our bullpen. We don’t want guys to get too far away but not get the benefit. Because of the four days [on All-Star break], it allows us to do whatever we want to do post-break. Everyone will have had [the] rest to put them in the mix.”

That allows the rest of pitchers in the the rotation, Miguel Gonzalez (Thursday),  Chris Tillman (Friday), Jason Hammel (Saturday) and Scott Feldman (Sunday), to each make their next start with an extra day rest going into the all-star break.  

Asked he is considering sending a starter to the minors to pitch to prevent a long layoff, Showater said he is considering it. Last season, the Orioles sent Chris Tillman to make a minor-league start at Double-A Bowie during the break. 

“We’ve talked about it,” Showalter said. “It’s a possibility. …It depends on what the need of our bullpen is between now and then, whether they can benefit from it and where they slot out in the second half. There are some days and mathematics involved there that you have to keep in mind.”

The Orioles have to make a roster move to activate Chen before Wednesday's game. Conceivably, the club could option Britton following his start Tuesday, have him pitch in the minors on schedule Sunday and be eligible to return next Friday when the Orioles open the second half in Texas.

"I know I’m giving the team an opportunity to win whether it’s getting in the rotation or the bullpen," said Britton, who said he was told Monday he was going to start Tuesday. "I know I can help the team win, it’s just a matter of finding a role and there might not be one unfortunately. I do have one option left and that can kind of be used against you sometimes but it’s not something I’m going to try to worry about too much. I’m pitching well I know good things are going to happen."

Showalter said after the break he will evaluate matchups in resetting the rotation for the second half, but added that he’d likely have to revert to a traditional five-man rotation so the bullpen wasn’t a man down.

“We have a lot of different ways to go, but after we got through with the New York series, we kind of did pretty well if you look at everybody, not only how they fit against the teams they’re pitching against, but also ... getting the benefit of an extra day here and there,” Showalter said. “It’s not going to be there shortly. It’s obvious we’re not going to be able to carry six starters in the second half. But we can talk about it for an hour the different factors that figured into it. But when it was all said and done, we thought it was pretty clear cut.”

Also of note:

-- Asked to pick his favorite Manny Machado defensive play, Showalter said he hopes it is yet to happen. He said he’d like for it to be when Machado catches the final out to win the World Series.

-- Showalter said the soreness in Steve Pearce’s wrists is almost gone and he’s expected to resume hitting tomorrow.

-- Right-hander Steve Johnson, on rehab with a left oblique strain, threw 35 pitches from a mound Monday.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
JJ Hardy SS
Nate McLouth LF
Brian Roberts DH
Alexi Casilla 2B
Scott Feldman RHP

Ian Kinsler 2B
David Murphe LF
Nelson Cruz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
A.J. Pierzynski C
Mitch Moreland 1B
Elvis Andrus SS
Engle Beltre CF
Leonys Martin RF
Derek Holland LHP

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