For the third straight day, the Orioles announced a roster move involving a starting pitcher.
The club optioned Miguel Gonzalez to Triple-A Norfolk Saturday to allow the right-hander to pitch on regular rest during the major league All-Star break.
“Miggy needs to pitch, too,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We don’t want him sitting around. … I just don’t want him to sit around for 12, 13 days without pitching.”
In a corresponding move, the Orioles called up catcher Steve Clevenger from the Tides. He’ll be used primarily as a left-handed bat off the bench, Showalter said. Clevenger entered Saturday's game in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter and flied out to left field.
Gonzalez pitched Friday, going eight strong innings for the second time in as many starts. He’ll take the mound Thursday for Norfolk and return to the Orioles to start July 22 against the Los Angeles Angels.
Showalter said the right-hander will have his pitch count limited during his outing in Norfolk.
Gonzalez flew to California Saturday to celebrate his daughter Leah’s first birthday but will then return east to join the Tides.
Thursday, the club optioned right-hander Bud Norris to Double-A Bowie, and announced Friday that right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez would be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right ankle injury. Norris will pitch Monday for the Baysox and will be held to 100 pitches or seven innings.
Showalter said Norris and Gonzalez will pitch Monday and Tuesday in Los Angeles, respectively, but the rest of the rotation hasn’t been determined.
Optioning starters in order to get in work during the All-Star break has become a common practice for the Orioles. Over the past two seasons, they have sent Wei-Yin Chen and Chris Tillman to the minors for that purpose.
“Somebody said, ‘Why doesn’t it happen more?’ Most people don’t have optionable starters,” Showalter said.
Meanwhile, Clevenger said he focused on improving his defense while with the Tides. He emerged as a force at the plate, batting .328 with 26 RBIs in 36 games.
“I don’t think anybody doubts Steve’s ability to hit,” Showalter said. “Steve makes our bench better and gives us some options.”
He is expected to stay with the Orioles through the Oakland series. Showalter said the club will make a roster move July 21, though Clevenger might not be involved.
Jimenez elaborates on injury
Jimenez didn’t expect that a small misstep in the parking lot of his apartment complex would land him on the disabled list.
The right-hander said he didn’t notice the incline in the pavement that caused him to stumble, and his right ankle twisted when his foot slipped out of his sandal.
“It could happen to any regular person and it probably wouldn’t be a big thing, but it’s like, I’m a pitcher, so I have to use my foot — especially that foot,” Jimenez said.
When he woke up Friday, his ankle was swollen and he was in significant pain.
“It didn’t feel that bad [Wednesday],” Jimenez said. “But then I threw the bullpen [session], I put a lot of pressure on it, and then when I woke up yesterday morning, I was like, ‘Uh oh, this is going to be bad,’ because it hurt a lot and it was swelling.”
Jimenez previously injured his right ankle when he was with the Cleveland Indians in 2012.
The right-hander said this injury is in a different location and that he could have pitched this weekend if needed. Showalter didn’t want to take that risk.
“If you get too early on it, it’ll blow back up again,” the manager said.
Gausman hopes for 180 innings
Gausman, who is on the Orioles’ taxi squad and will be activated to start Sunday, will not have his innings limited against the New York Yankees, and Showalter said the “wrappers are off” on how much the young right-hander can pitch.
“That’ll be awesome, and I’m definitely happy,” Gausman said.
The right-hander added that he hopes to toss 180 innings this year, but Showalter said that target is slightly high.
Between the major and minor leagues, Gausman has pitched 782/3 innings this year.
Gausman threw 1292/3 innings last year. A standard 20 percent increase in workload would limit him to 157 innings this fall.
“We have a number,” the manager said. “Kevin’s a little high, but what do you want him to say? I hope he gets there this year. I hope we play well enough and he pitches well enough that we get there.”
Around the Horn
Top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has a 7.04 ERA in two games with the High-A Frederick Keys. He’ll start again Wednesday. ... The Orioles signed RHP Robert Coello on Friday and assigned him to Norfolk. He last pitched in the Yankees’ organization. … Catcher David Freitas was transferred from Bowie to Norfolk to replace Clevenger. The Baysox received Zane Chavez from Frederick. … Outfielder Dariel Alvarez was placed on Bowie’s Temporary Inactive List. He left for the All-Star Futures Game in Minneapolis on Saturday morning. … RHP Chase Whitley is expected to start Sunday for the Yankees against the Orioles. … Sunday is the final day of the 28th annual OriolesREACH food drive. Fans can donate non-perishable food or donate money at Camden Yards gates.