Orioles manager Buck Showalter basically confirmed everything that has been written about the decision to send rookie Kevin Gausman to Triple-A last night.
Gausman will be back Friday as the allowed “26th man” to pitch one end of the split doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays.
He’ll then be sent back down to the minors Friday and will return to the majors the following week after spending four more days in the minors (to fulfill the 10-requirement after a demotion).
In other words, Gausman is not expected to miss a start, just have one pushed back from Wednesday to Friday.
“The plans are for him to potentially start in the doubleheader because we can add a player on that day and circumvent the 10 days [requirement],” Showalter said. “And actually he could start following that, too, and not miss that [turn] either. It’s kind of taking advantage of some of the things.”
Showalter said Gausman, who had gone 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA in his past three starts since his most recent recall, was well aware of the possibility of the temporary demotion. And their conversation late Friday night indicated that.
“He knew. I [was] very frank and honest,” Showalter said. “Told him what was going on and, ‘I’ll see you on Friday and enjoy the two or three days.’”
Gausman likely will have a light workout day in the middle of next week but probably won’t pitch for Norfolk, though Showalter would not completely rule out that Gausman makes one appearance for the Tides.
Showalter said he also told his position players about the potential procedural move during a meeting Friday so no one would have misconceptions about why Gausman was sent down.
“I actually took the time in the advanced meeting [Friday] to tell the position players about why and how. I just wanted them to understand,” Showalter said. “Obviously, Kevin is pitching real well and will continue to get that opportunity as long as he is pitching well. So I just wanted them to understand the potential it could happen if we used up our length out of the bullpen last night.”
When T.J. McFarland was used to pitch a third inning Friday, Showalter said, the club began the process to get Brad Brach to New York from Norfolk. The right-handed reliever arrived Saturday afternoon and is available in the bullpen today.
One complication about using Gausman as the 26th man is that the Orioles will not be able to call up an infielder to that spot if Manny Machado’s suspension begins Friday. But Showalter said he doesn’t expect it will. Machado is currently appealing the five-game suspension, but it has yet to go to a hearing.