BALTIMORE -- With Monday's decision to option starter Tommy Hunter to Triple-A Norfolk, the Orioles need a starter for his next turn on Friday, and lefty Dana Eveland looks to be the organization's preferred choice.
Eveland was pulled from Monday night's start after five innings and 63 pitches, potentially tipping the Orioles' hand in setting him up for Friday's series opener against Tampa Bay. The 28-year-old Eveland has been the Tides' most effective starter -- going 3-2 with a 2.21 ERA, while allowing two earned runs or fewer in five of six games.
"There are multiple candidates, but we pretty much know what we are going to do," manager Buck Showalter said of Friday's starter. "We are trying to set it up where we keep all our options available. There is nothing worse [than] when you are thinking about taking a guy and he pitched four innings that night. ... We are also trying to keep [Triple-A manager] Ronny [Johnson] and [pitching coach Mike Griffin] equipped to play their games and give them a chance to win their games, too."
Adding Eveland, who is not on the 40-man roster after clearing waivers this spring, would require the Orioles to open up another spot, a move that could be made by transferring either catcher Taylor Teagarden or second baseman Brian Roberts from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list. The pair of injured players -- who both started the season on the DL -- already have their time backdated to the end of spring and wouldn't figure to change the timetable on their return.
Eveland, acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter, is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in three career starts against the Rays. Hunter, who is in line to pitch Friday for Norfolk, is also an option, but he can only be recalled if there's an injury situation. Major League Baseball rules state that, once a player has been optioned, he has to remain in the Minor Leagues for a minimum of 10 days unless there's an injury.
Chris Tillman is another option -- although less likely -- among the players who are in Triple-A and on the team's 40-man roster. He is scheduled to pitch Saturday for Norfolk. Joel Pineiro started Tuesday, with Steven Johnson going Wednesday and Brad Bergesen in line for Thursday.