Orioles and Tigers lineups and pregame notes

*Zach Britton is here with the team in Detroit and the assumption is he will probably start tomorrow, although manager Buck Showalter hasn’t officially ruled out right-hander Steve Johnson. Johnson pitched two innings, throwing 28 pitches, to end last night’s game and he could be used in relief if needed again tonight. So, while nothing is official, you are likely looking at Britton for Saturday’s starter.

“He handled last night real well I thought,” Showalter said of Johnson, who had seven days off prior to pitching in Thursday’s game. “So, you know, I want to be fair to Steve too.  Sometimes being fair to somebody, because even if he got through tonight and [you] didn’t use him, how far can you expect to use him? You want some length there.

Asked if the Tigers are more vulnerable to left-handed pitching, Showalter said: “They are not susceptible to anything. they are good. No, I know Tommy’s had a good outing against them and I know Zach struggled in an outing here last year but our need supersedes that right now. For a starting pitcher. I wish we didn’t have to use Stevie last night, we didn’t have any choice.”

*Jason Hammel –recovering from right knee surgery– will throw a bullpen session on Saturday under the watchful eye of pitching coach Rick Adair and Hammel said the plan is to try to do more pitches than Wednesday, but at the same level of effort.

“The original injury when it actually hurt ,when I threw the pitch in the game that time, it hurt right back there [behind the knee],” Hammel explained. “So, it’s obviously dealing with getting past that. Because it’s still a little tentative to push off of it. But the first ‘pen I threw was like 70 percent, second ‘pen was about 90 percent so a little more effort and I was a little more sore that last time. But [that’s] to be expected when you’re putting more effort into it.”

Hammel and the Orioles are still targeting an early September return with the next step being for him to throw in a simulated game.

“That’s obviously the next step from throwing in a bullpen, but who knows?,” said manager Buck Showalter who was careful to put an exact timetable on Hammel’s return. It could be two or three times more down there. I’m going to leave it up to Rick and Richie and Ham because they’re aware of each other and what he needs to do.  But so far, so good. If you had told me when the surgery happened that we would be sitting here this close to talking about [his return], I’d feel real good about it. “

*Wilson Betemit had a cortisone injection in his sore right wrist yesterday in Sarasota, Fla. while reliever Stu Pomeranz had one today in his back to try to speed up the healing process. Troy Patton has reported to the team’s spring facility as well and is getting treatment on his right ankle.

Here are your lineups..

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nate McLouth LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Manny Machado 3B
Omar Quintanilla 2B

Tommy Hunter RHP

TIGERS LINEUP

Austin Jackson CF
Andy Dirks LF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Alex Avila C
Delmon Young DH
Brennan Boesch RF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Omar Infante 2B

Justin Verlander RHP

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