NEW YORK - Meeting with reporters today in the visiting dugout at Yankee Stadium, Orioles manager Buck Showalter shed some light on last night’s decision to option pitcher Kevin Gausman to Triple-A Norfolk.
There’s no reason to feel left in the dark. It’s a fairly obvious strategy.
Gausman will throw a bullpen session at Triple-A Norfolk or perhaps work a few innings in a game, then be recalled as the 26th player for Friday’s split doubleheader against the Rays at Camden Yards. He must be sent down afterward, but he can be recalled and take his next scheduled turn with the Orioles.
Coming up as the 26th player doesn’t restart the 10-day clock. It’s just interrupted. Gausman would be eligible to return in time to stay on turn.
The Orioles needed a long reliever today. Instead of starting Wednesday against the White Sox, Gausman is pushed back two days. It’s not the end of the world.
“We’re just taking advantage of some of the things,” Showalter said.
“I took the time in the advance meeting yesterday to tell the position players about why and how. I just want them to understand. Obviously, Kevin’s pitching real well and he’ll continue to get that opportunity as long as he’s pitching well. I just wanted them to understand the potential that could happen if we used up our length out of the bullpen last night.”
Showalter explained the situation to Gausman, as well.
“He knew,” Showalter said. “I was very frank and honest and told him exactly what was going on. I’ll see you on Friday and enjoy the two or three days. Unfortunately, we have to send him to Norfolk. He’s going to go back to Baltimore and pick up his stuff.”
In the meantime, Ubaldo Jimenez will start Wednesday’s game, and a short outing wouldn’t do excessive damage to the bullpen because the Orioles are off the following day. They need length from their starters on Friday.
Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Jimenez will start the three games against the White Sox, who will counter with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Hector Noesi.
Jimenez has walked 16 batters in his last three starts over 14 innings, and a major league-leading 51 in 81 2/3 innings this season.
“I said last night he was very fortunate,” Showalter said. “I don’t want to use the word ‘lucky,’ but ... He had like 50 or 60 pitches through four (innings) and then he gets out of sync mechanically and it’s really hard for him. He’ll go through some extended periods where he doesn’t get back into it. It’s something that’s been a real challenge for him. He’s leading the league or baseball in walks, right? It doesn’t surprise me.
“We dodged quite a few bullets last night with him. I felt like in the eighth or ninth inning we were almost playing with house money with some of the things we worked our way around that conventionally shouldn’t have been done.”
Reliever Brad Brach arrived in the clubhouse this morning after taking a 9 a.m. direct flight out of Norfolk.
“He covers us a little bit in the bullpen today,” Showalter said.
Showalter said he’s hoping that Manny Machado’s suspension doesn’t begin until after the doubleheader. Showalter won’t reveal the date of the hearing, since it’s not being made public.
The Orioles would have brought up an infielder to replace Machado as their extra player for the doubleheader, but Gausman will fill that role.
The Orioles are wearing their orange jerseys on the road for the first time today. Showalter doesn’t know why.
For the Yankees
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran DH
Kelly Johnson 3B
Brian Roberts 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Vidal Nuno LHP