Hendrickson getting another shot to start

Hendrickson back in rotation

Mark Hendrickson is back in the starting saddle again. The southpaw swingman signed with the Orioles last winter in the hope that he'd get to start regularly, but Baltimore moved him back to the bullpen when it went with a youth movement in the rotation. Now, with the season winding down, Hendrickson will get another chance.

"What he's been is three guys in one," said manager Dave Trembley. "He's been a starter, a long guy and a situational lefty. When he was the only lefty we had after we lost George [Sherrill], I think he really had to wear all three of those hats and he did a very nice job with it. He's a guy you had to make a decision on -- when are you going to use him -- if you're going to use that early in the game or save that until late in the game."

Trembley said Hendrickson has been the consummate professional, both in terms of his willingness to make sacrifices for the team and in his ability to serve as a mentor to his younger teammates. Trembley said that aspect of his game has really expanded as the year has progressed and the roster has gotten younger.

"I really didn't know because in Spring Training he was real quiet, rather reserved," said Trembley. "You really have to initiate conversation with him, but he's got a lot of experience he can draw on. He kind of likes to tell these guys what to expect. He doesn't tell them what to do but he kind of has told them what the situation might be, what might happen, how best to handle it. In that regard, you can't get enough of those kind of guys."

Hendrickson's utility became key for the Orioles last week, when they decided to shut down southpaw starter Brian Matusz before the end of the season. Trembley said he's not sure exactly how far he'll be able to stretch Hendrickson out, but he also said the veteran has made himself a serious candidate to come back next season.

"He's expressed a real interest to me about coming back," he said. "He likes being around the young guys. He likes talking to them. I don't know how much we're going to get out of him [Thursday]. I'm not going to expect 80 or 90 pitches, but we're going to try to build him up so that each start he can go a little bit longer and deeper."

Pitching matchup
BAL: LHP Mark Hendrickson (5-4, 4.43 ERA)
The Orioles shut down Matusz because he had reached his innings limit for the season, and when they did, Hendrickson became the natural choice to fill in for him. The southpaw has spent most of his time as a reliever this season but began the year in the rotation. Hendrickson is 1-4 with a 6.35 ERA in seven starts and 4-0 with a 3.44 mark in 43 relief appearances.

TB: RHP Wade Davis (0-1, 8.38 ERA)
Davis got off to a good start Saturday night with two scoreless innings against the Red Sox before finding big trouble in the third when the Red Sox tagged the rookie right-hander for eight runs on six hits to cut his second Major League start to 2 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-5 right-hander had an auspicious beginning in his first start when he struck out nine against the Tigers in seven innings.

Bird bites
The Orioles got just five hits in Wednesday's win, marking just the second time all season that they won with five hits or fewer. ... Baltimore and Tampa Bay sat through a 100-minute rain delay before completing Wednesday's game. ... Luke Scott doubled on Wednesday and is batting .304 (7-for-23) with five extra-base hits and six RBIs in his last six games. ... Matt Wieters hit the first walk-off home run of his career Wednesday night and now has nine RBIs in his last three games. ... The Orioles are 51-3 when they lead after eight innings and 3-75 when they trail at that point. ...Baltimore is 48-45 when it hits at least one home run and 8-64 when it gets outhit by its opponents. ... The Orioles are 39-31 when they score first and 21-54 when their opponent draws first blood.

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Up next
• Friday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 10-14, 5.06) vs. Red Sox (Clay Buchholz, 5-3, 3.66), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Orioles (David Hernandez, 4-8, 5.40) vs. Red Sox (Jon Lester, 13-7, 3.29), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Orioles (Jason Berken, 5-11, 6.08) vs. Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 2-5, 7.02), 1:35 p.m. ET

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.