ST. PETERSBURG -- The Orioles will give Zach Britton at least one more rehab start, tentatively planning for the 24-year-old to pitch on Tuesday for Triple-A Norfolk, and he will be reassessed after that.
Baltimore doesn't need a fifth starter until June 9 and are employing an extra reliever to help take some of the pressure off the bullpen.
Britton, who made his rehab start for Double-A Bowie on Thursday night, has been moved along slowly since being placed on the disabled list this spring, and one more tuneup isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"We will see what each start brings and where he is," manager Buck Showalter said of Britton, who last went seven innings and received good reports. "Yesterday's was better than the one he had before -- each one has gotten a little better. I'm proud of Zach. He pitched well, especially pitching on the road."
Britton allowied two runs, one earned, on five hits and a walk in Akron, with a wild pitch and throwing error that led to an unearned run. He threw 92 pitches, 55 for strikes, and lowered his Double-A ERA to 0.75 in two starts. Though it's possible he could make a third start for Bowie, Showalter said it's more likely he'll continue his rehab assignment at Norfolk.
Britton, who has been dealing with discomfort in left shoulder since last August, hasn't reported any pain or issues in the shoulder after receiving two rounds of platelet-rich plasma therapy this spring. His rehab has been overseen by Chris Correnti, with Rick Peterson, director of pitcher development, on hand as well.
"It's more now not about the physical [stuff]," Showalter said. "He's feeling really good physically from all the stuff we did to hopefully get that behind him."
Markakis has no intention of being out long
ST. PETERSBURG -- Right fielder Nick Markakis was in the visitor's clubhouse at Tropicana Field on Friday afternoon sporting a sling and joking -- just hours after undergoing surgery to remove part of the hamate bone from his right wrist -- that he was going to serve as a pinch-runner.
Officially placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday, the 28-year-old Markakis is in entirely foreign territory. He's on the DL for the first time in his career, and if he has any say in the matter, his recovery will be as quick as possible.
The timetable for a return from this injury is varied, taking anywhere from three to six weeks and sometimes more. Markakis, who underwent abdominal surgery in the offseason and worked tirelessly to be ready for Opening Day, said the hamate bone wasn't completely broken and that he's targeting a return for the homestand that begins on June 22.
"There's several different injuries you can have to a hamate, and on my hamate bone, they call it the hook of the hamate bone," Markakis said. "There was no structural damage to the rest of my hamate bone, so there's no healing process in there. When [Dr. Brian Schofield] went in there, he said everything looks great [and that there are] no other injuries. It's just a matter of healing up and getting these stitches off."
Markakis plans on attending the entire series against the Rays before a followup visit with Schofield to remove the bandaging on Monday. And although he is in relatively good spirits, the timing of the injury is particularly difficult to swallow.
"I think it's more disappointment," said Markakis, whose roster spot was taken by infielder/outfielder Bill Hall. "With all I've been through in the offseason trying to get myself back in the Opening Day lineup and for this to happen, I'd say it's more disappointing. But you look around this clubhouse -- we have a great group of guys, we have a lot of firepower in that lineup. So I think they will be all right for a couple of weeks without me, and the guys filling in are going to do their job, and I'll be here to support them, I'll be watching them. I'm still part of this, and we will take it from there."
A hard-nosed player who prides himself on being in the lineup, Markakis sustained the injury about a few weeks ago on a slide and continued to play. It wasn't until Tuesday night's final at-bat in Toronto that he felt something tweak. Markakis, who has played in at least 160 games the last three seasons, then sat out his first game of 2012 on Wednesday before being examined Thursday.
"I was able to take 100 percent swings, and I think I fractured it on that slide, and the past of couple of weeks, I was playing with it, and that one swing just kind of finished it off," he said. "[When I] get some movement back in my hand, I'll be ready to go."
"[The] doctor says four [weeks], Nick says two," manager Buck Showalter said of Markakis' return. "If I'm a betting man, somewhere in between. Now it's just how the wound heals. [The] challenge for us is keeping the bat out of his hand."
O's move Roberts to 60-day disabled list
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Orioles on Friday purchased the contract of infielder/outfielder Bill Hall, giving him Nick Markakis' spot on the roster, and moved Brian Roberts from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
The move is a technicality since Roberts -- who was placed on the DL with a concussion retroactive to March 26 -- wouldn't have been eligible within 60 days.
Roberts has been progressing well and going deeper into each game to get more at-bats. The plan is for him to make a final stop with Triple-A Norfolk on the team's road trip -- which starts on Tuesday -- to Rochester and Buffalo. His 20-day rehab period ends on June 11, thus his first game for the Orioles would be the following day if there's no setback.
Manager Buck Showalter said that the reports on Roberts have been positive and that he's counting on the second baseman to say how he feels given the uncertain nature of concussions. The plan right now is for Roberts to be able to play eight or nine innings when joining Norfolk.
Nolan Reimold is feeling better at extended spring training, and although he's not participating in baseball activities, the Orioles are encouraged that he can perhaps avoid a third epidural. Most of his pain has gone away, and he's simply dealing with a few lingering spots in his left arm/shoulder.
Steve Tolleson made his first Major League start in left field on Friday night. He had previously played just one inning of left at the big league level, as a member of the Athletics.
Reliever Matt Lindstrom (torn ligament in his right middle finger) has been throwing off flat ground and is close to pitching off a mound.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy won the Fan Vote for the team's bobblehead night on Sept. 30, besting teammate Robert Andino. Hardy has had two bobblehead nights -- one with Milwaukee and the other in the Minor Leagues -- although his favorite is an unofficial one his younger sister, Jessica, made for him.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.