Updated rotation, and Duquette talks about trade

Right-hander Bud Norris will make his Orioles debut on Thursday against the Astros.

They should be familiar with him.

Chris Tillman is being pushed back to Friday against the Mariners - his former organization - at Camden Yards followed by Scott Feldman on Saturday and Wei-Yin Chen on Sunday.

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette met with reporters in the back of the press box at 6 p.m. and discussed today’s trade that sent outfielder LJ Hoes and left-hander Josh Hader to Houston for Norris.

“We’ve been trying to bolster our pitching staff, and in Bud Norris, we have a pitcher that can give us some quality innings, and he’s been a very dependable pitcher for Houston over the course of his career and this year,” Duquette said. “He’s given them 13 quality starts. Almost two-thirds of his starts have been quality, so we like the fact that he’s very dependable and very competitive. And recently he’s pitched well against Oakland and Tampa, a couple of the top teams in the league. So, we hope he does the same with us.

“There’s so many teams that are in the race, and they’re chasing so few players that the market’s very dynamic and it’s shifting. But we stayed on task and we stayed involved in as many discussions as we could with teams that we thought could help us improve our team. And we were fortunate to make a couple of deals. Our scouts did their homework. Lee Thomas, John Stockstill, Dave Engle, Bruce Kison, they’ve been out over the last six weeks seeing all the teams, and they recommended Norris, they liked Norris. Hopefully he’ll give us the innings we need to accomplish our goal of getting to the playoffs again.”

Asked if the Orioles had to increase their offer - trust me, the Astros needed to come down - Duquette replied, “You never want to give up young players in a deal, but the urgency is to have the team competitive and continue toward the playoffs. We valued highly the two local kids we gave in the trade, and it was very difficult to do that, but in light of where the team is and what we’re trying to accomplish, we thought we’d take a run at it.”

Duquette managed to acquire three pitchers this month, including starter Scott Feldman and reliever Francisco Rodriguez. Is he proud of what he’s accomplished?

“The proof will be in the pudding, right?” he replied. “We had an eye toward Norris because not only can he help the team this year, but he’s also avaiable to our team the next two seasons, so that was important to us as we build our team so that we’re solid and dependable so we can compete, not just this year but future years. We think he can help our team, but the added benefit is he can also be with our team next year and the year after, which I think was an important component of our considerations to make the trade. And the acquisition cost was increased because of that. It isn’t just a 10-start trial. It’s something where he can be with us beyond the season.”

The Orioles also attempted to add a hitter, preferably a right-handed bat, but came up empty.

“We looked at several players in the market who could help us as hitters, but again, there’s a lot of teams that are still in the race, and wherever we went for the hitters that we thought could help us, there were four or five other teams that were there, as well,” Duquette said.

“There’s a premium on the pitching and the teams that are in the race, they’re trying to fuel their chances to get to the playoffs. We got a couple of starters to help us and we bolstered our bullpen. And hopefully they’ll do the job we brought them to do.”

The deal was announced on the same day that Jason Hammel went on the disabled list with a right forearm tightness.

“I think it’s important to have depth through the rotation,” Duquette said. “If we’re going to play the kind of ball we need to play to get in the playoffs, we need dependable starters.”

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