Orioles/Braves lineups and pregame tidbits

Hello from Atlanta, the first leg of a three-city roadtrip that leads into the All-Star Break.  It’s a pivotal trip for the Orioles, and I’ll be in all three cities (my first three city road trip) to help keep you updated.

Here are a few notes to get you going…

*Brian Matusz was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk yesterday and the Orioles will have another arm in Pedro Viola, who is expected to add some temporary relief help.

As for who will take Matusz’s turn in the rotation, the Orioles will take it day to day.  Relievers Jason Berken, Alfredo Simon and Brad Bergesen jump to mind as immediate candidates internally, although they could be needed to pitch this weekend which makes Triple-A Norfolk’s Chris Tillman and Mitch Atkins other viable choices.

Chris Jakubauskas is tentatively scheduled for Monday, but he could be pushed up as the O’s rotation –and entire roster really — remains in a state of flux. Jake Arrieta will start Saturday’s game, but beyond that nothing is definite. It’s all kind of wait and see.

*Cesar Izturis (elbow surgery) has been cleared to start baseball activities and the plan is for him to begin in extended spring tomorrow.

*Luke Scott is back in the lineup for the first time since suffering a right knee contusion. Nolan Reimold is not starting a day after going 2-for-4 with a homer and manager Buck Showalter admitted it was “tempting” to put Reimold back in but he wanted to get Scott in the lineup.

*Lefty Clay Rapada, who was designated for assignment to make room for Simon earlier in the week, has cleared waivers and is deciding whether to accept his assignment with Triple-A Norfolk.  Rapada’s home is nearby and if the starters can get back on track,  the team could decide to carry another lefty. You’d think staying in the Orioles organization would be a path of less resistance than some other clubs, but he has until Sunday to make that decision.

*The Orioles All-Star representative will be announced on Selection Sunday and there’s really three candidates in my mind: Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters.  My edge right now goes to Jones, who has been there before and has more name recognition. Plus he’s having a good year, although Hardy (and Wieters) would also be deserving.

*Reliever Josh Rupe had an out in his contract and elected to stay with the Orioles organization. Rupe, who made the Opening Day roster, is currently pitching with Triple-A  Norfolk.

ORIOLES LINEUP

J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Derrek Lee 1B
Luke Scott LF
Mark Reynolds 3B
Robert Andino 2B
Jeremy Guthrie RHP

BRAVES LINEUP

Jordan Schafer CF
Jason Heyward RF
Brian McCann C
Chipper Jones SS
Freddie Freeman 1B
Dan Uggla 2B
Alex Gonzalez 3B
Nate McLouth LF
Jair Jurrjens RHP

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