**Join us in a special makeup edition of the Orange Crush live chat at 4:30 this afternoon as the Orioles send Zach Britton to the hill in his home debut against the Texas Rangers for the first game of a twin bill***
BALTIMORE — The rains have subsided, but the news keeps pouring in regarding the Orioles’ tenuous roster situation prior to today’s doubleheader with the Texas Rangers.
Second baseman Brian Roberts is in the starting lineup for Game 1 after being taken to the hospital with stomach pain Friday night. Doctors did not give a formal diagnosis, but ruled out any chance of appendicitis.
“Everything’s fine,” Roberts said. “I hadn’t been feeling great for a couple days, and the doctors, a little while before [Friday’s scheduled game], wanted me to get checked out.”
Shortstop J.J. Hardy will not start in the first game of the doubleheader, but he is expected to play in the nightcap, according to manager Buck Showalter.
The Orioles’ pitching concerns sparked a noteworthy change Saturday afternoon after a few days of speculation. Starting pitcher Brad Bergesen has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, and the Orioles have selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Chris Jakubauskas from Norfolk. Jakubauskas will be used in an emergency situation if needed during the twin bill and is in line to make Sunday’s start with Jeremy Guthrie being pushed back to Tuesday.
Bergesen declined comment on the demotion as he was exiting the Baltimore clubhouse.
“It’s time for [Bergesen] to get down there and get his feet back down on the ground,” said Showalter, alluding to his infrequent work at the end of spring training and the first week of the regular season.
Bergesen struggled in his first start Wednesday, allowing two earned runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Tigers before being lifted after 89 pitches.
Jakubauskas not only brings a name that’s difficult to spell, but was the logical choice considering he will work on regular rest after being slated to pitch for the Tides on Sunday. He also has options remaining, meaning the Orioles can send him back to the minors without exposing him to waivers. Having an empty spot on the 40-man roster, the Orioles did not have to remove anyone to call up Jakubauskas.
The right-hander appeared in five games for the Orioles this spring, allowing no runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He’s pitched in 36 career games in the majors with the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates, going 6-8 with a 5.48 ERA in 93 2/3 innings. He will wear No. 55.
“I’m fresh and ready to go,” Jakubauskas said. “If I get in there tonight, great. If I get in there tomorrow and start [in place of Guthrie], perfect. I’m just looking to get in there and get the first one out of the way.”
He figures to remain with the big club for awhile as Bergesen would not be eligible to be recalled for a minimum of 10 days unless the Orioles place someone on the 15-day disabled list.
Coming off a 9-5 victory over the Tigers on Thursday, Baltimore (5-1) sends rookie Zach Britton to the mound for his home debut against Rangers veteran Colby Lewis, who returned from two years in Japan to go 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA in 2010.
Here are this afternoon’s starting lineups:
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mike Napoli
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Julio Borbon
SP Colby Lewis (1-0, 4.50)
2B Brian Roberts
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derrek Lee
RF Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
SS Cesar Izturis
SP Zach Britton (1-0, 1.50 ERA)
With last night’s game being postponed, we open up the Orange Crush live chat for a special Saturday afternoon edition. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the afternoon! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding today’s straight doubleheader at Oriole Park at Camden Yards!
Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Roberts, Showalter, and Jakubauskas prior to the start of Saturday’s doubleheader with the Texas Rangers.