Saunders, Britton to close out Chicago series

Saunders, Britton to close out Chicago series

Saunders, Britton to close out Chicago series
BALTIMORE -- Left-hander Joe Saunders joined the Orioles on Tuesday and will make his first start for Baltimore on Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox.

"That was the plan all along," manager Buck Showalter said of Saunders, who was acquired on Sunday from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for reliever Matt Lindstrom. "[Saunders] got in last night sometime during the game, just wanted to give him a day to get kind of acclimated. Plus, I didn't want [Tuesday's starter Chris Tillman] to get too far behind. It fits good for him. I'm sure his pass list, he's already looking for tickets."

A Virginia native who grew up an Orioles fan, Saunders has gone 6-10 with a 4.22 ERA this season, and is excited to get started in a move he called "full circle" for his career. The 31-year-old Saunders cleared waivers last week and will add some stability to an Orioles rotation that has been in flux all season.

With Sunday's rainout pushing Tillman to Tuesday, Zach Britton, who last pitched on Friday, will start on Thursday with Miguel Gonzalez tentatively slated for Friday in New York.

"[That's] depending on whether we have to use him out of the 'pen the next couple days," Showalter said of Gonzalez, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 20. "Steve Johnson has had two days off now, he could fit into that possibility also. Like I said, we will see what the night brings and what our needs are and readjust after that."

Gonzalez is a 28-year-old rookie and the Orioles had originally pushed him and Wei-Yin Chen back to give the pair some extra rest. Chen pitched Monday, with Saunders' arrival bumping Gonzalez back further. Showalter said he wasn't worried about the long layoff adversely affecting Gonzalez, citing the right-hander's experience in the Mexican Winter League as helping him stay "pressurized" in a hostile environment like Yankee Stadium,

"I think the rest has done him some good," Showalter said. "We'll see. There's some thought about just get him in there. You've all seen late in the game we've had him get up and throw some."