Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/21/14
When the Orioles began to prepare for interleague play in National League ballparks, they had relief pitcher Zach Britton take batting practice with the starters. Britton handled the bat well in limited action in 2011, and the club thought he might be needed to pitch multiple innings and stay in the game when the pitcher's spot in the lineup comes up. But the left-hander now has been moved into the closer's role, or at least a late-inning spot, with right-hander Tommy Hunter blowing his past two save opportunities. So the possibility of having Britton, who is 5-for-8 with a home run and a double in his career, hit in the sixth or seventh inning in interleague play has pretty much been scratched, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. Showalter said he doesn't envision Britton coming into games earlier — or being avoided in the ninth — just to save him for an at-bat. "It might be a tiebreaker, but it is not going to be the driving thing. It depends on how you are going to play out — the good and the bad," Showalter said. "We've got some interchangeable parts down in the bullpen now. We'll have to wait and see. We hope we have the lead in the ninth." Showalter said because the Orioles are only playing two games in Pittsburgh, he didn't quickly get another reliever ready for pinch-hit duties. He will, however, use starters Bud Norris and Ubaldo Jimenez, if necessary. Both right-handers won't be pitching in this series and have previously hit in the National League. Norris has hit .147 in 170 at-bats and Jimenez .114 in 273 at-bats.
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