PITTSBURGH — Knowing how little Jeremy Guthrie likes to come out of starts, the Orioles were concerned when the right-hander exited his last outing after five scoreless innings because of back discomfort. As it turns out, Guthrie won't even miss a start.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter announced Monday that Guthrie will start Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, four days after he was diagnosed with a muscle strain in his back.
"He feels good," Showalter said. "I'm sure you all talked to him or he's tweeted or something. So far, so good. We plan on him pitching [Tuesday] if he doesn't have any setbacks."
An MRI on Guthrie's back Friday revealed nothing serious. He has felt significantly better each day since sustaining the injury.
"I feel a lot better today than the last time I pitched, that's for sure," said the Orioles' Opening Night starter, who is 2-8 with a 3.56 ERA in 15 outings.
Rest of rotation unsettled
The Orioles are waiting to see how Guthrie gets through Tuesday's outing before setting up their rotation for this weekend's series against the Cincinnati Reds at Camden Yards. Two days off in a five-day span — Thursday and Monday — give Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair plenty of options for those spots.
"We're still looking at that," Showalter said. "We'll see how we get through the night. We'd like to get [Chris Jakubauskas] back out there, too. I know Rick and I spent a couple of different conversations about our options. The tough thing is with these two days off, you have almost too many options. We're going to kind of look at it day-to-day. I know we're still to be announced on Sunday. I'm not really going to commit to it until we see how everything goes with Jeremy tomorrow."
If the Orioles stay on turn, Brian Matusz, who left Saturday's start with left hamstring cramps but said Monday that he is 100 percent healthy, would pitch Friday's series opener, followed by Jakubauskas on Saturday. However, the club is considering pushing back Matusz a day or two, giving him one extra bullpen session before his next start. Showalter also didn't rule out having relievers Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken enter the mix for starts.
O's look inward for bullpen job
Showalter met with acting bullpen coach Terry Crowley, and the two decided that Wednesday will be Crowley's final day in the role. Crowley, a hitting consultant for the organization, has been serving as the bullpen coach Tuesday, when pitching coach Mark Connor resigned and Adair, the former bullpen coach, became the pitching coach.
"Terry is going to finish up this road trip, and then we will make an adjustment," Showalter said. "Really, it's important to get him back to doing what he was doing for [president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail] and the organization before this presented itself. We were lucky to have him on this trip. He's done a great job with it."
Showalter said the bullpen job would be filled internally and didn't dispute that one option is coordinator of minor league Instruction Brian Graham, who is with the team.
"You got to be careful robbing from Peter to pay Paul," Showalter said. "Brian is very good at what he does. … Fortunately, we have a lot of good people to pick from from within."
Third-round pick in fold
The Orioles have agreed to terms with third-round pick Mike Wright, a right-handed pitcher out of East Carolina. Wright went 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA in 16 starts for the Pirates this past season.
He is the third Orioles top-10 pick in this month's draft to agree to terms, joining fifth-round choice Matt Taylor, a left-hander from Middle Georgia College and seventh-round selection Trent Howard, a lefty out of Central Michigan.
Two other top-10 selections — Vanderbilt third baseman Jason Esposito (second round) and Virginia pitcher Phillip Wilson (10th round) — are playing in the College World Series, so the Orioles can't negotiate with them. Overall, the Orioles have agreed to terms with eight of their 50 selections.
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