Orioles option Mahoney for Britton

The Orioles have optioned first baseman Joe Mahoney back to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a roster spot for Saturday night’s starter Zach Britton.

The move keeps an extra arm in the bullpen with right-hander Steve Johnson is presumably the long man tonight. Mahoney was with the Orioles for two games and entered int the bottom of the fifth inning when first baseman Mark Reynolds was ejected. Mahoney was recalled for the second time this season when the Orioles placed Wilson Betemit on the 15-day disabled list Thursday and Mahoney went 0-for-1 in his only at-bat on Friday. Mahoney played in one game in July, going 0-for-3.

The 25-year old Mahoney won the Orioles’ 2010 Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year Award last season, when he hit .319/.378/.545 for Double-A Bowie. This season, he is hitting .263/.317/.390 for Norfolk.

Britton has gone 1-1 with an 8.10 ERA in five Major League starts and was scheduled to pitch on Saturday for Triple-A Norfolk before joining the team in Detroit on Friday. Johnson was also a candidate, but he pitched two innings of relief on Thursday and the team was worried about how much length he would be able to give them in a start two days later.

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