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Britton, Garcia leading candidates for rotation spot

Britton, Garcia leading candidates for rotation spot play video for Britton, Garcia leading candidates for rotation spot

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles will need a starter for Wednesday's series finale against the Blue Jays, due to Friday's rainout and the subsequent doubleheader, and he will likely come from Triple-A Norfolk.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Monday that Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen will not pitch on short rest, and while the team has talked about potentially asking a reliever to make the spot start, it's not the preference, given where they are as a team.

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"We've talked about it because Tommy [Hunter] and T.J. [McFarland] are a little stretched out, and then you are robbing from Peter to pay Paul," Showalter said. "Who is going to give you long relief? Who is going to be able to give you an extension? We've done some things, if you go into extra innings or Jimmy [Johnson is] pitching with a one-run lead and they happen to tie it up, you always got to think about the 'What if?'

"You want somebody who can provide you with some length in an extra-inning game. It's something we didn't have last year, which is why [first baseman] Chris Davis pitched in a game. It's something we've considered, but I'll say this: If you do it, you are going to create another problem."

Right-hander Jake Arrieta, who was optioned to Norfolk on Monday, could only be eligible to return within the 10-day window if there's an injury, and there are three candidates currently with the Tides who could get the nod on Wednesday: Zach Britton, Freddy Garcia and Josh Stinson.

Norfolk has an off-day Monday with Garcia slated to pitch on Tuesday and Britton lined up for Wednesday. Stinson is considered more of an outside chance than the other two, although the organization likes what it's seen so far from the right-hander, who was nearly called up over the weekend.

Britton is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in three starts while Garcia is 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA. The veteran Garcia also has an opt-out in his contract after five starts, which Showalter said could be a tiebreaker in the decision.

"But if someone is a little better, that's where we are going," he said. "That's to be fair to both players. It's not about hoarding players completely. That's there to protect the player and give him the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues somewhere else if we don't have the opportunity here."

The Orioles aren't expected to go to a three-man bench, which means they will likely option a reliever to clear a spot for Wednesday's start, with new addition Alex Burnett the most logical option.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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