WASHINGTON - Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Kevin Gausman will be eligible to return to the club immediately after the All-Star break. Also, Gausman will no longer be on an innings limit, with today’s decision to option him taking care of it.
Asked whether the Orioles had a tough decision optioning Gausman, Showalter said, “Yes and no. We know where we’re going to take him innings-wise this year in a perfect world and I think he’s got a chance to be part of that and we want to manage the innings, be proactive instead of reactive.
“We’re all here, just like Washington is, hoping to play until the end of October, and if you do the starts and the innings of what our target was this year and where he was right now, this kind of makes it clean for the rest of the year.
“Instead of knee-jerking with it yesterday, we decided to think about it a little bit because we had a day to play with. His last day down there if we wanted to bring him back would be the last day of the All-Star break. So this allows us, if and when he comes back, to use him for the rest of the year according to how the opposition lets him go in the game. That, and we needed a relief pitcher (today). We needed an arm in the bullpen.
“You just don’t want to have it jump up on us the middle of September or something and not be able to use him.”
Showalter made it appear that his conversation with Gausman was an easy one.
“He gets it, he knows exactly what’s going on,” Showalter said. “I think a lot of people don’t give players credit in a lot of cases, especially when you take the time to sit and explain it. He understands we’re doing what’s best for the team and what’s best for him and his health.
“Every guy when that game was over yesterday, all 12 pitchers knew that we were going to have to do something.”
Showalter said the Orioles considered activating Bud Norris tonight instead of Tuesday.
“The first thing was we wanted to make sure Kevin got in position where we could use him as we saw fit the rest of the year,” Showalter said. “Keep in mind we’ve got five starting pitchers without him, so we want to protect that depth. There’s a chance we could do something between now and the All-Star break to get another relief pitcher in here. We’ve done it every year. Make sure we keep everybody safe down there in the bullpen.”
The decision to select reliever Julio DePaula’s contract had a lot to do with his proximity to Washington. Double-A Bowie is in Harrisburg.
“It’s a 2 1/2-hour drive to Washington. We’re allowing a little extra time there,” Showalter said.
“He’s was our best option, all things considered, for what we needed. We have plenty of room on the (40-man) roster. And he’s kind of an interesting story. He’s had a meteoric rise.”
DePaula rose from the independent York Revolution to Bowie to the majors in two weeks.
“It all started when we were watching (Mark) Hendrickson throw,” Showalter said. “One thing Mark said was, ‘I know you guys have got people (scouts) over in the independent leagues, but I’m going to tell you that somebody needs to sign Julio DePaula. He’s by far the best relief pitcher in this league.’ He said, ‘You should take a look at him,’ so we did and sent him to Bowie and he’s had three really good outings.
“He’s a guy with major league experience. I talked to (Bowie manager) Gary Kendall and those guys today about him and we just felt like he was our best option for what could be a day or two. Bud (Norris) is pitching tomorrow. We want to try to get Bud out there twice before the break, make sure we’ve got that behind us.”
The Orioles caught Norris’ groin injury before it became more serious and cost him a chunk of the season.
“He was pitching as well as any starter we had at the time,” Showalter said. “We’ve been able to withstand that. I’d go with some caution the next couple of starts, because it has been a little while. Another reason why we want to have our bullpen covered.
“You don’t know what you’re going to get tomorrow, so you better be covered.”
Showalter said a few relievers aren’t available tonight. He didn’t mention names, but Brad Brach and T.J. McFarland will be spectators.
Showalter joked that he came close yesterday to giving Chris Davis another relief appearance at Fenway Park.
“I called down there (to the bullpen) and Dom (Chiti) said, ‘Darren (O’Day) and I are getting real lonely down here,’ ” Showalter said. “Chris was sitting beside me and every once in a while he’d kind of look over at me and I’d (shakes head) say, ‘Not yet, not yet.’
“He said, ‘I’m loose, I’m loose.’ I said, ‘For what?’ He goes, ‘You know.’ “
Showalter indicated that Steve Pearce could use a day to rest his hamstring. Pearce is available to come off the bench.
Davis is starting at first base and Nelson Cruz is in left field.
“I feel real good about our options off the bench,” Showalter said. “These games usually end up, the things you’re able to do the last three or four innings are key.
“Steve’s got a little hamstring, too. Every guy in there’s got something. If I showed you the medical report every day, you’d wonder how we get nine guys on the field.
“For a team that’s from the American League, I like our versatility tonight.”
Dylan Bundy’s next start for Single-A Frederick will be Thursday at Salem.
Steve Johnson reported to short-season Single-A Aberdeen on his rehab assignment.
“He was ready to get out and get underneath some lights and have people in the stands,” Showalter said. “That’s good to see. We could use him. Get him back like he’s capable.”