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Inbox: Have O's set a pitch limit for Cobb?

Beat reporter Brittany Ghiroli answers questions from fans
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

Will Alex Cobb be on a pitch count for his first start on Saturday? If so, what is it expected to be?
-- Lorne, Tokyo, Japan

Cobb won't be on so much of an exact pitch count, though manager Buck Showalter said earlier this week they probably wouldn't take him past seven innings. Cobb has thrown 100 pitches, so it's more about the "ups" each inning and also the added stress of pitching in the Major Leagues. He has been pitching in extended spring camp, where you can't simulate the intensity of Fenway Park. You also can't stop an inning after 15 pitches. In a perfect world, I think the Orioles will be OK with anything six innings or longer, especially against a Red Sox team playing really well.

Will Alex Cobb be on a pitch count for his first start on Saturday? If so, what is it expected to be?
-- Lorne, Tokyo, Japan

Cobb won't be on so much of an exact pitch count, though manager Buck Showalter said earlier this week they probably wouldn't take him past seven innings. Cobb has thrown 100 pitches, so it's more about the "ups" each inning and also the added stress of pitching in the Major Leagues. He has been pitching in extended spring camp, where you can't simulate the intensity of Fenway Park. You also can't stop an inning after 15 pitches. In a perfect world, I think the Orioles will be OK with anything six innings or longer, especially against a Red Sox team playing really well.

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Why did they bring up Hunter Harvey and not have him pitch? Seemed like a good chance to at least let him debut.
-- Michael L., Columbia, Md.

The plan was never to showcase Harvey. It was about the O's having a need to add some right-handed length against Toronto, and Harvey being on the 40-man roster already and down the road at Double-A Bowie. They were hoping he wouldn't get into a big league game, because that would mean that they didn't get a short start.

Harvey has yet to make his season debut in the Minors, and he's had a two-week layoff. He'll start on Saturday and get on a consistent schedule. Harvey will be back later this season, I imagine, and he'll make his debut then.

What's the latest on Zach Britton? When do you think he'll be back?
-- Kim S., Norfolk, Va.

Britton, on the 60-day disabled list after offseason Achilles surgery, could return as early as May 28. He's been able to run, do some tossing and is working toward getting on a mound again. He'll push to be back, and he seems to be ahead of schedule for now. If that remains the case, I don't see any reason why he's not on the Orioles' roster by early June.

What are the Orioles going to do about Chris Davis?
-- Tony A., Baltimore, Md.

Play him. I don't see any other options two weeks into the season. Davis isn't the only Orioles player who is struggling. Also, he had a couple of hits on Wednesday, and he has always been a streaky hitter. You have to allow Davis, and others, a chance to work out of it and try to find their stride.

I understand the frustration with Davis. He's making a lot of money and he's a big-strikeout guy. But the O's knew what they were getting into when they committed to Davis long-term. They know he's going to go through bad stretches, and for now, they have to ride it out and see if he can get going. We've all seen how Davis is capable of carrying the team when hot. This is a guy who has two home run titles in the past five years. Let's give it a little more time. And let's hope we aren't still having this conversation in mid-June.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles