The Orioles are in the middle of a 16-game span against all American League East opponents, and this weekend's wraparound set with Boston is hardly just another four games on the slate.
The Red Sox will have the national spotlight on them in advance of Monday's Patriots' Day, and they'll send Felix Doubront to the mound Saturday afternoon following Friday night's 8-4 Orioles win at Fenway Park.
It's a familiar foe for the Doubront, who beat the Orioles in the season-opening series on April 3, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. Doubront, who had a rough second start at home against Texas, is trying to erase his Fenway opener from his mind and be more along the lines of his last outing, in which he held the Yankees to three runs over 6 2/3.
"I have that every year the past few years," Doubront said of pitching a bad game in between two good ones. "When I pitch a game like that, I think the light is my next start is better than my last start. So it's always like that. You have to pick it up yourself. I don't worry about my bad starts because I always know that I come back strong."
Orioles starter Bud Norris is coming off a strong showing at home last Saturday night, as the righty picked up his first win in blanking Toronto over seven innings. Norris struck out four and scattered five hits and a trio of walks.
And while the O's are well aware, and very respectful of the Boston Strong messages all around the city, manager Buck Showalter's club won't be taking it easy against the Red Sox.
"Whether you are from Boston or Massachusetts or Texas or whatever, this is something that happened to our country. I think everybody [is respectful]," Showalter said of remembering last year's tragic events at the Boston Marathon on Patriots' Day. "But we do have a job to do, something we want to deliver on. everybody will take in the moment. I know I will. But sooner or later, they are going to play that song and we are going to compete."
Orioles: Machado to make extended spring debut
Third baseman Manny Machado will play in his first extended spring game Saturday as he takes a big step forward in his recovery from offseason left knee surgery.
Machado slid and ran the bases again Friday at the team's spring facility in Sarasota, Fla., completing a back-to-back phase of running that was crucial to him advancing to games. The plan is for Machado to play five innings at third base Saturday.
"He's doing it right," said Showalter, who spoke with Machado on Friday. "He's obviously wanting to get there as soon as he can. It's one of the things I told him today. [If] it takes five or six days down there before he's ready to play [rehab] games, start that clock ticking, that's fine. That's why it's important that he and we make that step to where that might be, a Minor League affiliate. I think he's got between 17 and 20 plate appearances already."
Red Sox: Victorino to begin rehab Saturday
Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino, on the 15-day disabled list since March 31 (retroactive to March 30), went through a full pregame workout before Friday's game against the Orioles at Fenway, and is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday.
Manager John Farrell said he wants Victorino to play in back-to-back rehab games before he is activated.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, on the 15-day DL since April 5 with a right calf strain, was sent home a day early from Chicago, where the Red Sox completed a three-game set with the White Sox on Thursday, because of the flu.
Middlebrooks was back in the Red Sox clubhouse Friday afternoon. Victorino also had the flu while on the DL, but was away from the team for several days because of the illness.
"[Middlebrooks is] improved," Farrell said. "He wasn't as sick as Vic when we kept him away for about six or seven days. But I don't think this is going to delay Will in his eventual rehab assignment, which we're still hopefully targeting sometime in the middle part of next week."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.