In a press briefing with reporters at Camden Yards this afternoon to talk about the call-up of Kevin Gausman, Orioles vice president Dan Duquette was also asked about infield prospect Jonathan Schoop, who is on the Triple-A Norfolk disabled list.
The news doesn't sound very encouraging on Schoop. He has not played since May 12 and will see a doctor in California next week.
"It sounds like he has a stress fracture of his low back," Duquette said. "He will need a period of rest, probably six to eight weeks of rest. Dr. Watkins is in California, and John requested to see him."
In 34 games this season with the Tides, Schoop, the Orioles' 2011 minor league Player of the Year, is batting .268 with three homers and 18 RBIs.
The news that Schoop was dealing with a back injury was first reported here on MASNsports.com
Meanwhile Duquette obviously overlooked, at least for the moment, the possibility that calling up Gausman now could make him a Super Two in arbitration and give him an extra year of arbitration later, which could cost the club a few million.
"When you can add a good player to your team, I think it shows a commitment to your club to field a competitive team," Duquette said. "I think it tells the team that we want to win."
So, are the Orioles committing to now keep Gausman in the rotation?
"You know this is the big leagues, I don't know if we commit to future opportunity," Duquette said. "That future opportunity is really based upon how the player plays, but Kevin Gausman has a good future as a major league pitcher. I think he'll be very competitive."
It wasn't that long ago that Duquette was telling reporters he didn't think Gausman was coming up, but Duquette said the club did not change its stance on that one.
"I said he wasn't an immediate candidate for (last) Saturday, but that he would be a candidate for the future. So the future is now, right?" Duquette said.
"He's throwing strikes with three pitches, and he has excellent control," he said. "He's done real well his last five starts. His capability to throw strikes consistently with all his pitches, that is what we were looking for, and he's shown that capability.
"If you look at what he did in spring training and how impressive he was and you look at the quality of his pitches, you could see he had the talent to pitch in the big leagues quickly.
"He has the best stuff and the most consistent control of just about any pitcher we have in the organization. So, we thought employing his strengths for our major league team was the best way to go."
Duquette would not get pinned down on a season-innings limit for Gausman or how this call-up now might impact that as the season goes on.
"I wouldn't get ahead of us on that, but he has plenty of innings of experience last year that we can build on for this season," he said.
Duquette was asked about the timing of the call-up and if Gausman is being rushed.
"You never know how people will respond, but Kevin pitched in the SEC. He was the No. 1 pitcher for Team USA when they had big games, so he's pitched in international competition, elite conferences and high-level situations," Duquette said. "I think he'll do real well. He has all the qualities to be a good, winning major league pitcher.
"I look at the player's skill level. He has a really good fastball, an excellent delivery, a very good changeup and developing breaking ball. He has elite control, he fields his position, he holds runners. He does all the things you need to be competitive here, so he'll get his experience in the big leagues.
"This was a real possibility the day we drafted him because he was so far advanced. We were seriously looking at him as the most advanced pitcher in the draft and we thought that he could help our big league team with a little bit of experience."