BOWIE - Bud Norris walked into the home clubhouse at Prince George's Stadium with his sweat-soaked game jersey in one hand and a look on his face that screamed for a cool shower.
Norris threw 98 pitches in 4 1/3 innings under a scorching sun for the Double-A Bowie Baysox, his first outing since the Orioles optioned him last week. He allowed three runs and four hits, walked five, struck out seven and hit a batter.
Considering that Norris was here to build up his pitch count, the day was considered an overall success. He got out of it what he intended despite failing to complete the fifth inning.
"Pitch count was the No. 1 priority," he said. "Felt pretty good. It was obviously extremely hot out there, but I worked through it and that's something I'm going to have to get used to more and more. But threw some really good changeups.
"Four-seam location, got a little bit better with that. Slider was a little shaky, but for the most part I felt good. Didn't feel my leg, arm feels 100 percent and I'm just happy with the work."
Norris, activated from the disabled list on Wednesday after recovering from a strained groin that sidelined him for 2 1/2 weeks, had to adjust to an 11:05 a.m. starting time.
"It was a work day, for sure," he said. "I understand the reasoning why we did all this stuff and I'm glad we did it and in the grand scheme it's going to help me stay on track. I already had some time off, which I don't necessarily need anymore.
"Pretty excited with the work day. Got the work in and the pitch count's where it needs to be. I felt good and I'm leaving healthy. I'll definitely take some time here in the next few days and keep working and I'll be ready to go for L.A.."
Norris will throw a bullpen session on Friday and start the July 21 game against the Angels in Anaheim, part of the Orioles' 10-game West Coast trip.
"That's what I've semi-been told," Norris said, smiling, "so I'll go from there."
Norris' pitch count was elevated as he struck out Richmond left fielder Ryan Lollis to end the fourth. Lollis worked him for 12 pitches.
"They're good hitters, too," said Norris, who's 7-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 15 starts for the Orioles. "They're going to put some swings on some balls. But it's good to have a good at-bat like that and win it and get the final out and not walk the guy 3-2 after a bunch of pitches. It's good.
"I grinded in a couple and they made me work for a few. Like I said, I got my pitches and I'm leaving healthy, which is good."
The Baysox received permission from Richmond to let Norris use major league baseballs, which have wider seams. Normally, only pitchers on an injury rehab assignment are allowed to do it without the opponent's consent.