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Inbox: Will Buck pull Ubaldo from rotation?

Beat reporter Brittany Ghiroli answers Orioles fans' questions
May 23, 2016

BALTIMORE -- Let's start the Inbox off with a big "Happy Birthday!" to Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who turned 60 on Monday.Now, for your most common -- and pressing -- questions.Is Ubaldo Jimenez going to make his next start? -- Dave L., Columbia, Md. Yes. Jimenez, who struggled in Sunday's

BALTIMORE -- Let's start the Inbox off with a big "Happy Birthday!" to Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who turned 60 on Monday.
Now, for your most common -- and pressing -- questions.
Is Ubaldo Jimenez going to make his next start?
-- Dave L., Columbia, Md.

Yes. Jimenez, who struggled in Sunday's 10-2 loss to the Angels, has not had a good run as of late. That's fairly obvious. What looks equally apparent is that the right-hander will be given every chance to get back on track and remain in the rotation.
:: Submit a question to the Orioles Inbox ::
Showalter told reporters after Sunday's game he hasn't considered removing Jimenez from the rotation, citing a belief in his starter and the lack of a rotation-ready replacement.
"[Replace Ubaldo], for who?" Showalter said.
And that's a fair question. There's also the fact that Jimenez is out of Minor League options, and he is making $26.5 million over the next two seasons. Despite going just 15 innings over his past three starts and allowing 17 runs over that stretch, Jimenez is expected to get the ball in Cleveland.
Which brings me to the next most popular question the past 24 hours …
Could Dylan Bundy get a start?
-- Jim H., Virginia Beach, Va.

Could he? Eventually, yes. Is he ready to now? No.
Bundy has pitched three innings just once (Thursday), and he pitched into the third inning one other time this season. While Showalter will look for ways to keep Bundy stretched out to go multiple innings, it would be quite the jump to expect him to start right now, unless it was a bullpen-pitched game and the O's were in a tight spot. For reference, Bundy's season high is 44 pitches.

Still, the right-hander's season has been encouraging, and Bundy has been a positive storyline for an Orioles organization that has struggled to develop young arms. There's definitely plans for Bundy to start, someday. Just not immediately.
Do you think Matt Wieters can keep up this hot streak?
-- Mary S., Baltimore

He has that potential. What people miss about Wieters, who is in his first full season back since Tommy John surgery in 2014, is that he was having a career year before the injury. He batted .308/.339/.500 in 26 games in '14 before he was shut down. Wieters had five homers and 18 RBIs that season. After a slow start, he is heating up again now.
Wieters is batting .283/.330/.455 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 28 games, with three doubles, three homers, eight RBIs and a .464 batting average over his past eight games. Is he going to slug .893 -- his percentage over that eight-game stretch -- all season? No. But the 30-year-old backstop, who celebrated his birthday with a game-winning homer on Saturday night, is finally looking like his old self at the plate and behind it. And that's really, really good news for the Orioles.

What's the latest on Yovani Gallardo and J.J. Hardy? Are they close to a return?
-- Jim P., Gaithersburg, Md.

Gallardo, who got up on the mound on Sunday for the first time since hitting the disabled list, will throw another bullpen session on Wednesday and a simulated game either Thursday or Friday, depending on how he feels. From there, he could go out on a rehab assignment.
Hardy reported to Sarasota, Fla., when the team left to ease into full baseball activities. The hope is that he'll be cleared soon to do weight-bearing activities -- such as walking -- and will remain in extended spring camp until he's ready to go out on a rehab assignment. The original timetable from May 2 had Hardy sidelined for six to eight weeks, and the O's are hoping he comes back on the short end of that.
Also of note, Showalter told reporters postgame on Sunday that lefty reliever T.J. McFarland's MRI showed no structural damage in his left knee. He said the MRI did show some bruising underneath the patella, and that McFarland will go back to Triple-A Norfolk to rest for a couple of days before resuming a workout regimen.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.