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Tillman, not Britton, likely to be among callups

Tillman, not Britton, likely to be among callups

CHICAGO -- The Orioles will only take on players they can use for September callups, and while right-hander Chris Tillman is expected to be recalled and likely inserted into the rotation, it's becoming far less likely that lefty prospect Zach Britton will end the season in Baltimore.

While there had been some speculation that Britton, the organization's top pitching prospect, could come up and work out of the bullpen, manager Buck Showalter said that probably won't be the case.

"You wouldn't want to bring a guy up to the big leagues for the first time and have him pitch in a position that he hasn't done before," Showalter said. "I don't think that would be fair to him."

Britton allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings at Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday night and has pitched to a 2.25 ERA in his past three starts. He's thrown 142 1/3 innings this year, just shy of his career high of 147, but Showalter said workload won't be a factor in determining what the Orioles do with Britton.

"There are a lot of variables," Showalter said. "Zach is in a good position innings-wise. He's not done starting in Norfolk] either."

Britton is scheduled to pitch for the Tides again on Monday, with Tillman starting on Thursday night. Orioles officials have said before that the preference would be to insert Tillman in the rotation -- which could be expanded to six starters -- and given the team's several off-days in September, having Britton start would require having some pitchers throw on seven or eight days of rest.

It's possible the team could alter plans by either shutting down another arm or moving veteran Kevin Millwood.

Showalter planned on conferring with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail -- who was not in Chicago because he's watching the team's affiliates -- again in Anaheim this weekend to further evaluate their September options.

"I'm leaning on Andy and the Minor League people, and whatever they say, I'm obviously fine with it," Showalter said. "Those are conversations that we'll probably get going the next few days. Whatever they want to do, I'm obviously good with."

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