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Given Orioles' relief needs, Norfolk bullpen in spotlight lately

All eyes have been on Triple-A Norfolk this weekend, not for its players’ performances, but its pitchers’ availability to hop a plane and join the Orioles’ drained bullpen.

Brad Brach joined the team in Minnesota, with Josh Stinson and Evan Meek both sent down last week to create room for new, fresh relief pitchers.

Ubaldo Jimenez’s best start with the Orioles gave the bullpen some rest Friday, but it was back to action Saturday and Sunday, when relievers combined for 6 1/3 innings pitched.

Here are a few pitchers the Orioles could promote from Norfolk should the need arise.

Preston Guilmet – The 26-year-old right-hander has served as the Norfolk closer this year, picking up three saves and posting a 2.25 ERA with a 0.66 WHIP in 12 innings. Guilmet has been lights-out in his career as a reliever in the minor leagues, but he gave up six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in the major leagues last year for the Cleveland Indians.

Brock Huntzinger – A minor league free agent who found a home in the Boston Red Sox organization as a reliever, the 25-year-old right-hander is making an impression in Norfolk. Huntzinger has already appeared in 13 games for the Tides, with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.

Nick Additon – The 26-year-old left-hander has been pitching multi-inning outings for Norfolk, and he has hardly struggled other than giving up two runs in 1 1/3 innings April 16. Additon is another minor league free agent, and he is in his first year of relief, so the team may want to let him further acclimate to the role despite his 1.89 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 19 innings.

One name missing from this list is Kevin Gausman, who went on the disabled list last week with pneumonia. It’s not expected to keep him out long-term, but it is also tough on a player who’s trying to refine his arsenal in Norfolk to help in Baltimore.

Eddie Gamboa update

The knuckleball was certainly working for Gamboa his last time out, when he struck out six batters, allowed six hits, and most importantly, walked just one in seven shutout innings on Friday to pick up a win in the Tides’ 10-0 victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

It was his second scoreless outing of the season, and he lowered his ERA to 4.33 with a 1.25 WHIP.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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