BALTIMORE -- One start after returning from a two-week exile, Steve Trachsel is headed right back to the unknown. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said on Monday that the Orioles will use an off-day later in the week to skip Trachsel's next rotation turn, and he also refused to confirm or deny whether he'd permanently pull the veteran from the starting staff.

"I'm worried abut winning the game today against the New York Yankees, and I'm not that far down the road yet. I'm not up to what my rotation is eight days from now," said Trembley. "Whenever I need another fifth starter, that's the possibility that Steve Trachsel will pitch. I will keep all of the guys on their regular turn as best I can.

"I don't know if I answered that or I played political football with you, but that's the way it is."

Trachsel is 2-5 with an 8.82 ERA in eight starts this season, and he's been knocked out before the end of the fourth inning in half of his outings. The right-hander's most recent abbreviated start -- which came against Tampa Bay on Saturday -- may have been influenced by a two-week layoff. Trachsel got hit hard, and if he makes another start, it will be on similarly long rest.

"It's part of the game, and I'll do what I have to do to contribute," Trachsel said. "You know when you're going to pitch and you prepare for that. You do what you have to do to stay prepared, whether it's [bullpen sessions] or throwing simulated games."

Trachsel had originally been scheduled to throw a simulated game last week at Yankee Stadium, but the Orioles couldn't find the field time to do it. Trembley said that he'd be hesitant to use the erstwhile starter as a reliever over the next week, and he also said that he didn't put any credence into the theory that Trachsel has been tipping his pitches.

The Orioles likely won't need a fifth starter until next Monday, which is the first day of their series in Minnesota. Trembley wouldn't circle Trachsel or a chief contingency plan, but he acknowledged next Monday as the day in question.

"That's the way I've done it all year," he said. "When there's an off-day, I try to keep as many guys as I possibly can on their regular day. Trachsel's day would come the first day we're in Minnesota, I guess."

If Baltimore elected to replace Trachsel, the main candidates would likely come from the bullpen. Both Jim Johnson and Matt Albers have distinguished themselves in long relief, which may eventually lead to a starting job.

"I don't think it's hard to imagine that he could start, but I think if you do that you weaken what he's already done in the bullpen," Trembley said of Johnson. "You want to be on a routine, and I like the routine that he has, but I'm not reluctant at all if everybody felt that his best interests and our best interests of the team would be served by him starting.

"We could do that. But I think when you do that, you're going to have to find someone to pick up the slack for what he's doing out of your bullpen right now. And I'm not so sure that's available at this particular point in time."