Orioles @ Astros Game 3

Lots of pregame news from Buck today…

Matt Wieters will make his Major League debut on Friday in Cleveland, with the plan for the All-Star to get the start behind the plate. There was some thought to letting Wieters join the Orioles in Houston and play at designated hitter on Thursday afternoon but with Triple-A Norfolk being rained out —and pushed back a day— manager Buck Showalter reverted back to the original plan.

“All things considered, if things go well today, he will meet us in Cleveland,” Showalter said of Wieters who is rehabbing with Triple-A Norfolk. “He wants to  [potentially] DH the second game [for Norfolk] and he would have to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and would not be a good option. He needs to go back to Baltimore and get his family, go to Cleveland. With all things considered, I want him to start fresh, with fresh legs.”

Showalter reiterated that starter Bud Norris who pitched Game 1 of Norfolk’s doubleheader, could be shortened up so that he remains an option to pitch Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

*The Orioles have acquired minor league RHP Joe Gunkel from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for OF Alejandro De Aza and cash considerations. De Aza was designated for assignment last week and the O’s had been trying to trade him.

*Jonathan Schoop has started playing games in extended spring and went 4-for-10 today. Showalter said there’s a possibility he is back before the All-Star Break though the Orioles won’t rush him. Brady Anderson is done in Sarasota, Fla. watching Schoop and some of the other rehabbers.

*Brian Matusz had his hearing this afternoon at Minute Maid Park for the eight-game suspension that the lefty received –and appealed– from Major League Baseball on May 28.

Matusz said the whole thing took about an hour and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette spoke on his behalf. Manager Buck Showalter was also there for morale support.  They weren’t given any timetable of when they would get news.

“I’m really not sure at all,” Matusz said. “Not sure if Will Smith’s case [of an eight-game suspension on May 22] factors into the decision at all. Could be up to a couple days from now.”

Both Matusz and Smith were ejected for having a foreign substance on them while pitching. It was reported earlier this week that Smith would know his results before Sunday.

“This is the first time going through anything like this, not really sure [if the suspension will be reduced],” Matusz said. “We presented our case, said everything we needed to. It’s really out of our hands right now. Just waiting to hear that final decision.”

Should Matusz’s suspension hold up, even as a lesser sentence, the Orioles will have to play down a player for that duration.

*J.J. Hardy is out of the lineup for a third consecutive game, though the shortstop did test his left oblique prior to Wednesday’s game with some dry swings and 30 swings off a tee.

“It feels so much better than it did two days ago,” Hardy said. “There’s still some discomfort but not nearly what it was two days ago.”

Hardy –who had Tuesday’s MRI come back normal — hopes to be playing at some point this weekend and is aiming to take batting practice on Thursday.

“I’m hoping tomorrow [he plays], but it’s probably not realistic,” Showalter said of Hardy. “I just want him to be able to play without any mental restrictions or physical restrictions.”

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
David Lough LF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Delmon Young RF
Steve Clevenger C
Steve Pearce 2B
Jimmy Paredes DH
Ryan Flaherty SS

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

ASTROS LINEUP
George Springer RF
Jose Altuve 2B
Preston Tucker LF
Evan Gattis DH
Luis Valbuena 3B
Chris Carter 1B
Jason Castro C
Jonathan Villar SS
Jake Marisnick CF

Lance McCullers RHP

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