Guthrie hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 and hasn't earned a victory since July 27, an eight-start span that includes six no-decisions. Now, he'll get a chance to write a better ending to his interesting rookie season.
"It wasn't an injury I was overly concerned about, so it's not necessarily a relief," Guthrie said of his troublesome oblique ailment. "If it was an arm thing that went away, you'd feel relieved, but this was just something that was going to take time. It's nice that's it's gone as quickly as it has, to maybe give me a chance to pitch one more time."
Guthrie should get one more rotation turn, but he really wanted two more. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said he had to talk the right-hander into scaling down his hopes for the final week in order to match up better with reality.
"Guthrie wants to pitch twice," Trembley said of the situation in the hours before Sunday's game. "Then, when I told him that he's not going to start twice [and] he's only going to start once, he said, 'How about I go out of the bullpen?' And I said, 'You're not going to do that.' That ought to tell you anything that you need to know about Guthrie."
Baltimore ace Erik Bedard encountered a similar injury at the beginning of the month, and the Orioles elected to shut him down for the season. Guthrie's reluctance to do that was a major factor in keeping his season alive, but he said it's not because he wants to finish strong. Baltimore has lost seven of his last eight starts, but Guthrie's been happy with his work.
"I really threw the ball well the last two times, I felt," he said. "In a way, I feel like I [already] ended on a positive note, other than the fact that I was injured as I walked off the mound. ... I just enjoy pitching, and I felt like I was learning again with some things I was looking to apply. It will be fun to get back out there and get my final shot at pitching this year."
No matter how his season ends, Guthrie has made quite a journey this season. He joined the Orioles as a waiver claim last winter and earned a rotation slot by pitching well in Spring Training and in relief during April. He continued to thrive once he got his chance and will finish third on the team in wins (seven), innings (170 1/3) and strikeouts (120).
Keeping the peace: The Orioles and Rangers received a warning Saturday night after an interesting sequence between Baltimore starter Radhames Liz and Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler. Liz appeared to hit Kinsler with a pitch in the first inning, but the umpires ruled that the infielder stuck his elbow into the strike zone, which made the plunking a strike.
Then, in Kinsler's second at-bat, an obviously wild Liz buzzed a fastball close to the batter's face. A few pitches later, Kinsler drilled a tape-measure home run and seemed to shout a few obscenities as he rounded the bases. Home-plate umpire Ed Rapuano called both managers out in between innings to deliver a warning and make sure things stayed civil.
"After Kinsler hit the home run, I think he said some things as he was going around the bases. To Rapuano's credit, he heard it and he wanted to curtail it," said Trembley. "He called [Texas manager] Ron [Washington] out and myself, and we both agreed that neither one of us is going to get into one of those kinds of games.
"[Washington] said he was going to go back in the dugout and talk to Kinsler and tell him to keep his mouth shut, and tell his pitcher not to do anything. I told him he didn't have to worry because before Kinsler came up again, I was probably going to get Liz out of the game with the way he was pitching. And that's what happened."
Long balls: When Chad Bradford allowed a home run to Hank Blalock on Saturday, it snapped an incredible streak. The right-hander hadn't given up a homer in 128 games, a run that brought him all the way back to May of the 2006 season. That was the third-longest streak in the last 50 years, behind only those of Greg Minton (178 games) and Dale Murray (142).
"I think it's his delivery," Trembley said of his submarine-throwing right-hander. "You don't see those guys often [and] you don't see those guys in the Minor Leagues. ...You don't pick up the ball because of his arm angle and deception. "
Going one step further, Trembley said that Bradford's tendency not to allow home runs has affected his usage patterns.
"There were some situations this season late in the game that I purposely put him in, because I knew he hadn't given up a home run," he said. "And I knew the odds were in our favor that we wouldn't get beat with a home run ball. We might get beat by him giving up some base hits, but we weren't going to get beat by him giving up a home run ball."
Quotable: "He wants me to get on the mound one more time and throw just to be sure that it's all the way back -- and then shoot for Thursday as a start day. Right now, I'm penciled in there, and the only thing that can stop it is if the side session early next week doesn't go well." -- Guthrie, explaining Trembley's pitching plans
Coming up: The Orioles will head home for a makeup game against the Royals on Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Brian Burres will get the ball, and he'll be matched against Kansas City's Gil Meche.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.