BOSTON -- As expected, the Orioles made an interesting move Wednesday, bringing up last year’s No. 1 pick, Kevin Gausman, while sending Tuesday’s starter, Wei-Yin Chen, all the way down to the Gulf Coast League.
Before you say 'wow,' know this was procedural more than anything. It had nothing to do with the worst start of Chen’s career Tuesday. In fact, Chen won’t miss a start. Manager Buck Showalter said he will come back and pitch Sunday against the New York Yankees.
Here’s the deal: The Orioles wanted another arm in the bullpen. Gausman will fill that spot.
Chen has no prior minor league service time. So he can be sent to the Gulf Coast League if the Orioles choose. Normally when a player is sent to the minors, he must stay there 10 days before being recalled unless there is an injury. If there is an injury that requires a DL stint, then the demoted player can be recalled before the 10 days are up.
But there’s also a catch here. The GCL Orioles season ends Thursday. And once an affiliate season ends, the demoted player is eligible for the majors before the 10 days are up.
So that’s what will happen with Chen. That’s why he is going to the GCL instead of another level. Chen will throw a side session in Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday and then fly back Friday night and join team in New York.
It’s a loophole in the rules, and the Orioles are using it.
It gets a little tricky with the potential playoff roster, but not really. Technically speaking, any player in the Orioles system on Aug. 31 that remains in the system for September, can be eligible for the playoffs. That’s why contenders need to trade for players by Aug. 31 if they want those guys on the postseason roster.
All 25 players on the club’s roster on Aug. 31, as well as anyone on the disabled list at that point, are eligible for the postseason. So the Orioles basically have 27 spots right now (because Nolan Reimold and Jason Hammel are on the DL). And anyone in the system can replace a DL player – so even though Hammel likely will replace himself, the Orioles have at least one extra guy that they can consider from their system that’s not currently on the 25-man roster because Reimold is out for the year.
And, remember, if another player on the 25-man roster goes on the disabled list in August or September, the Orioles can add another player from the system for consideration for the postseason.
So stay tuned on that.
As for the 22-year-old Gausman, this is his third trip back with the Orioles. Each time gets a little easier for him.
“The first time it’s like, ‘Wow. Cameras everywhere and so many people,” Gausman said Wednesday afternoon. “Now, I feel pretty good and I have a good relationship with most of the guys. It makes it easy.”
Although still ticketed as a future starter, he’ll pitch out of the bullpen this time around, the way he did in his second stint with the Orioles from June 24 to July 9. As a rookie starter, Gausman was 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA in five games; as a reliever in the big leagues he is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four appearances.
“My first couple times out of the pen I learned I don’t need that much time [to prepare],” said Gausman, the fourth pick in the 2012 draft out of LSU. “I can be a reliever and I can come in and pick the ball up right away and start throwing in a couple minutes. It’s something that has been a little bit different, but I feel great about it.”
One other thing about Wednesday’s game. Wilson Betemit will be making his first start since Sept. 13 last year. He had missed all of this season after tearing a ligament in his knee on March 25. Betemit entered to play defense in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s blowout and had one at-bat in the ninth, a groundout to end the game.
On Wednesday he’ll be batting eighth and starting as the designated hitter against Boston right-hander John Lackey.
Here are the lineups for Wednesday:
Orioles: McLouth 7, Machado 5, Davis 3, Jones 8, Markakis 9, Hardy 6, Wieters 2, Betemit DH, Roberts 4. Norris 1.
Red Sox: Ellsbury 8, Victorino 9, Pedroia 4, Ortiz DH, Nava 7, Napoli 3, Saltalamacchia 2, drew 6, Bogaerts 5. Lackey 1.