It’s been no secret that Kevin Gausman will rejoin the big league club when rosters expand in September, but the 22-year-old right hander could join the Orioles sooner if they need a reliever over the next week, manager Buck Showalter said Saturday.
After struggling through his first five major league starts, Gausman thrived in a bullpen role, holding opposing hitters to a .194 batting average in four relief appearances. If the Orioles bullpen gets taxed during the early part of the upcoming road trip to Boston, New York and Cleveland, Gausman will likely be the first pitcher the club turns to for help.
“We may not wait until Sept. 1,” Showalter said. “We’ll see how the bullpen holds up.”
Gausman is scheduled to make his next start for Triple-A Norfolk on Monday night at Gwinnett.
Long layoff for Gonzalez
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who isn’t scheduled to make his next start until Friday’s series opener at Yankee Stadium, was available out of the bullpen Saturday and will be again Tuesday. If he doesn’t pitch on those days he will throw side sessions to get his work in.
Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in four career starts at Yankee Stadium, and he’s pitched better with extra rest — a 2.66 ERA in starts coming after more than four days rest versus a 4.66 ERA in starts on regular rest. Showalter said starting Gonzalez on Friday instead of later in the Yankees series plays out better in terms of matchups down the stretch.
Gonzalez would go a season-long nine days between starts. He’s worked on seven days rest twice and on six days rest twice this season.
The decision gives the Orioles a backup relief arm through Tuesday without requiring them to make a roster move. The Orioles bullpen doesn’t have the same maneuverability as last year’s because just two of their current relievers can be optioned to the minors.
Around the horn
Wilson Betemit’s minor league rehab window ends Monday, which means the Orioles either need to add him to the active roster or request to extend his assignment. The veteran infielder-designated hitter has been out since tearing a ligament in his right knee during spring training. … Saturday was the 30-year anniversary of former Orioles reliever Tippy Martinez picking three runners off first base in the 10th inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. ... Saturday was also Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.’s 53rd birthday. … The first seven games of the Orioles’ homestand averaged three hours and 24 minutes. … The Orioles entered Saturday’s game with a 20-11 record against teams from the American league West.