Chen optioned to GCL, Gausman talks about latest promotion

BOSTON - The Orioles made the expected roster move today, recalling Kevin Gausman from Triple-A Norfolk and optioning left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to the Gulf Coast League team.

The GCL Orioles end their season on Thursday, making Chen eligible to return in a few days. However, he’s expected back when rosters expand on Sunday.

The Orioles list Sunday’s starter as TBA. Chen can fill that spot in New York.

Gausman was told of his promotion before yesterday’s game at Norfolk.

“Had a flight at 9:50 p.m. last night,” he said. “Got in here at 12:45 a.m.”

Gausman has pretty much figured out his role.

“I got here today and talked to Buck (Showalter) when I first got here,” he said. “From what I’ve kind of figured out on my own, I’m just here to kind of eat innings and keep the bullpen fresh. That’s the biggest thing. I guess we’ll just see. It kind of depends on how the game goes.”

Gausman is still projected as a top-of-the-rotation starter, but the Orioles currently need him in the bullpen.

“I actually feel great about it,” he said. “I think the first time it was kind of different because I’m so used to having so much time to get ready and warm up and stuff. My first couple times out of the ‘pen, I learned that I don’t need that much time. I can be a reliever and I can pick the ball up and start throwing right away and be ready in a couple minutes.

“It’s something that has been a little bit different, but I feel great about it. I think that’s kind of why, earlier in the year, they did that to me, so at this point I would be ready for it and feel comfortable with it.”

Gausman was brought up before rosters expand on Sept. 1 because the Orioles needed a fresh arm in the bullpen. They’ve actually been targeting this week.

“I think it just so happened that they kind of needed an extra guy,” he said. “I was a little bit surprised, but at the same time, I was pitching well. I’m just trying to fill a role here.”

Gausman made his last start for Norfolk on Sunday, a day earlier than scheduled, and only pitched three innings. The Orioles wanted to make sure that he would be available tonight.

“They didn’t tell me that then and they haven’t told me anything now about that, but I think that’s why they did it. And I think that’s why I only threw three innings,” he said.

“(Norfolk manager) Ron Johnson told me before the game, ‘You’ve got 40 pitches.’ Obviously, I was kind of mad. I hated even pitching five innings. To go out there for three innings kind of sucks, especially when you’re starting. Start, three innings, kind of screws the bullpen down there sometimes. I wasn’t too happy about it. Obviously, I’m happy now.”

The Orioles skipped one of Gausman’s turns at Norfolk because of mild forearm tightness, and because they were monitoring his innings.

“That was nothing, to be honest,” he said. “I just kind of iced my arm one day. I never ice my arm. Everybody starting asking questions. One thing that (director of player development) Brian Graham told me - he was there when they skipped my start - he said, ‘Hey, we’ll skip a Triple-A start if you’re going to be healthy for us in September.’ That’s the most important thing, so I thought he kind of made sense that he said that.”

This season hasn’t always made sense to Gausman. Up, down. Start, relieve. But he’s back in the majors.

“I’m definitely learning how to do a lot of different things, and it’s been fun,” he said. “In Chicago, I got to pitch the eighth inning, and that’s something I usually never get to do, at least as a reliever, so that was pretty cool. Like I said, I feel really comfortable now being able to come out of the ‘pen, knowing my routine there. I think that’s why they did that early in the year.”

The call-ups are becoming more routine. He’s still a rookie, but not a wide-eyed kid.

“The first time, it’s like, wow, cameras everywhere, so many people,” he said. “Now, it’s easier. I have a pretty good relationship with most of the guys. It makes it easier.”

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