KANSAS CITY -- Danny Valencia was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Wednesday's game against the Royals to clear a roster spot for new Orioles reliever Francisco Rodriguez, giving manager Buck Showalter an eight-man bullpen and a chance to take an extended look at designated hitter Henry Urrutia.
Urrutia, in the starting lineup for the third time since being promoted on Friday, figures to get some at-bats the next few days with the Orioles slated to face four consecutive right-handed starters.
"We'll see what each day brings and what the needs of our players are every night, including Henry," Showalter said. "Initially, that's the idea, but we'll see what each day presents.
Showalter has been impressed with Urrutia's at-bats in a small sample size, with the rookie going 4-for-12 with two RBIs entering Wednesday. While reliever Jair Asencio, a likely candidate to be optioned, would have had to go on waivers, the right-handed hitting Valencia has options and will go back to being an everyday player at Norfolk.
"There's a lot of reasons," Showalter said. "I want Danny to get some consistent at-bats [at Norfolk] again. He went down there last time and swung the bat real well. I want to err on the side of pitching anytime we can, but things could change."
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.