O's still deciding plan for rotation next week

O's still deciding plan for rotation next week

BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter is keeping mum on the team's rotation following Monday's off-day, although he did concede that the team's preference would be to start both Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen.

If that is the case, Hammel would pitch Wednesday and Chen on Thursday, with Tuesday's starter possibly being Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter or Brian Matusz if the team decides to use an internal option.

The recent performances of Triple-A Norfolk arms Chris Tillman and Zach Britton could factor in, too, as both young starters are throwing well and providing the organization with some depth. At Norfolk, Tillman has pitched to a 3.76 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 83 2/3 innings. Britton has also gotten progressively better in his four starts since coming off the disabled list, most recently allowing only two runs on four hits in six innings on Thursday.

Showalter said Hunter -- who last pitched on Tuesday -- could be used in the bullpen if necessary over the next few days, as long man Dana Eveland left the team after Saturday's game and will likely be placed on three-day paternity leave on Sunday. If Hunter is used in relief, that would change things for the Orioles, who are set to open a three-game set with the Angels on Tuesday.

"We think we got an idea, but something could change," Showalter said of the rotation. "We know at some point [Eveland is] going to be leaving us. I know he's getting tired of me, instead of asking how he's doing, asking how [his wife is] doing. But that's imminent, and that's a moving target. [I] can't really ask Mother Nature to cooperate with us. ... He said the baby's at 10 pounds now; it can't be too long."