ANAHEIM, Calif. – In order to make a room for Bud Norris from Double-A Bowie to make Monday’s start, the Orioles optioned catcher Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk before the game.
Clevenger was recalled from Norfolk on July 11 to give the Orioles a third catcher and another left-handed hitter off the bench. Clevenger played in two games as a late-inning substitute and received just one at-bat after rejoining the team.
Clevenger made the Opening Day roster, but he struggled to throw out runners on stolen-base attempts — he was 3-for-20 — and was optioned to Norfolk on May 28 after the Orioles acquired veteran catcher Nick Hundley. Clevenger has hit well in Norfolk, batting .328/.378/.458 with 11 doubles, two homers and 26 RBIs in 36 games for the Tides.
Entering the day, Showalter was prepared to either send down a bench player or a reliever, but he decided to option Clevenger. The Orioles will have to make another move before Tuesday’s game to recall right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, which will likely be a reliever.
Showalter said the Orioles were monitoring one health situation with a pitcher Monday to make sure the club was covered in case a reliever needs to be sent down to make room for Gonzalez.
Gonzalez ready to face Angels on Tuesday
Gonzalez, who will start Tuesday’s game against the Angels, rejoined the team Monday. He was allowed to be with the club because of baseball’s taxi squad rule that allows players to join the team 24 hours before being recalled or activated.
Gonzalez was optioned to Norfolk in order to get work over the All-Star break. Before that, he recorded back-to-back eight-inning outings for the first time in his career. He allowed three runs and five hits in six innings for Norfolk on Thursday, throwing 88 pitches.
“I was on a roll,” Gonzalez said. “I was feeling good throwing eight innings back-to-back, getting my work in in Norfolk. I hope we can keep rolling with how I’ve been feeling, so I think it would help. … You never know.”
Gonzalez, an Orange County native who was originally signed by the Angels, is 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in three career starts against Los Angeles. He also has a 2.63 ERA in two starts against AL West teams this season.
Two years ago, Gonzalez won his first major league start against the Angels.
It might have been one of his best starts in the major leagues as he allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. During that game, Gonzalez wore a glove given to him by former minor league teammate and Western Maryland native Nick Adenhart, a former Angels prospect who died in a car accident in 2009 at age 22.
“It’s a great feeling [to be back],” Gonzalez said. “This is my third time here. This is going to be a big series against these guys. They’re playing really good baseball, and it’s going to be fun.”
Matusz had bruised finger over weekend
Left-hander Brian Matusz wasn’t available Friday or Saturday against the Oakland Athletics because he suffered a bruised finger on his pitching hand while lifting weights during Thursday’s post-break workout.
Matusz threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings Sunday in the Orioles’ 10-2 loss to the Athletics.
“I was glad to get that out of the way yesterday,” Showalter said before Monday’s game. “I told him, ‘Maybe we should do that same thing before you pitch every night. He’s fine and he’s ready to go.”
Around the horn
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez is scheduled to throw his next bullpen session Tuesday or Wednesday, but Showalter said he was leaning toward Wednesday to give Jimenez’s right ankle another day of rest. If that session goes well, Jimenez could go out on a minor league rehabilitation start by the end of the week. … Right fielder Nick Markakis entered Monday’s game having played in 271 consecutive games in the outfield without recording an error. His last error came Aug. 10, 2012. His 271-game errorless streak is the longest active streak in the majors by an outfielder and longest in franchise history, passing B.J. Surhoff’s 234-game streak. … Nelson Cruz hasn’t played the outfield since fouling a ball off his left foot Friday. Cruz said he has a bruised toe that is still sore, but he is available to play the outfield. Steve Pearce started in left field Monday.