**Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter, J.J. Hardy, and Nick Markakis prior to Saturday night’s game with the Cleveland Indians**
BALTIMORE — While J.J. Hardy’s contract received the most attention Saturday afternoon, the Orioles continue to wait on a decision to place Vladimir Guerrero on the disabled list.
The 36-year-old designated hitter has a broken bone in his right hand and is unable to grip a bat without pain, but the Orioles appear willing to wait for another day, leaving them again with a short two-man bench of only backup catcher Craig Tatum and infielder Robert Andino for the third game of a four-game series with the Indians.
“Hopefully we’ll make a decision shortly,” said manager Buck Showalter, who has discussed Guerrero’s status with head trainer Richie Bancells.
Considering Guerrero hasn’t played since Sunday in Boston, it seems pointless to wait for the Orioles to continue to wait when Guerrero could potentially return in 10 days if placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 11. Instead, the Orioles will play a man down.
Outfielder Luke Scott received a cortisone injection on Friday and has taken batting practice a day late. The plan is for Scott to receive at-bats with Double-A Bowie on Sunday and Monday with a potential activation on Tuesday against the Red Sox. With Guerrero likely going on the disabled list at some point over the next few days, Scott would become the full-time designated hitter.
Showalter also revealed Brad Bergesen as the likely starter against the Red Sox on Monday. Much of that depends on how much the bullpen might be used over the final two games of the Indians series. Bergesen warmed up in the bullpen during Friday’s game but was not used.
Left-handed pitcher Zach Britton pitched three innings — his scheduled workload — for Double-A Bowie on Friday night, allowing a solo home run on a 3-2 changeup. He will pitch again on Wednesday, but Showalter would not rule out a return prior to July 30, the projected date on which the Orioles would receive an extra year of service time.
“He could come back before the 30th,” Showalter said. “He controls that as much as we do.”
It’s the right thing to say, but it’s hard to imagine any scenario in which we see Britton back with the Orioles before month’s end.
Tonight’s starter Alfredo Simon will be placed on the restricted list on Sunday as he returns to the Dominican Republic to deal with his legal issues. The Orioles will gain a roster spot while Simon is away.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
LF Michael Bradley
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
DH Travis Hafner
1B Carlos Santana
3B Lonnie Chisenhall
2B Orlando Cabrera
RF Austin Kearns
C Lou Marson
CF Ezequiel Carrera
SP Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 4.28 ERA)
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Derrek Lee
3B Mark Reynolds
LF Felix Pie
DH Nolan Reimold
2B Blake Davis
SP Alfredo Simon (1-2, 4.85 ERA)