Kevin Gausman

Right-hander Kevin Gausman has allowed a combined two earned runs in his past three starts and is 3-1 this season. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun / June 12, 2014)

Seeking relief for their overworked bullpen, the Orioles have optioned Kevin Gausman to Triple-A Norfolk, a move that is not expected to keep the right-hander out of the club's rotation for long.

Because the Orioles can add a "26th man" to their roster for day-night doubleheaders, they are likely to recall Gausman for Friday's games against the Tampa Bay Rays. Gausman is likely to then be sent down again after Friday.

Normally, a player must stay in the minor leagues 10 days before returning. However, that clock does not restart for the "26th man," meaning Gausman would have to be down only four days after appearing Friday before he would be eligible to take his turn in the club's rotation, should the Orioles indeed again recall him.

Miguel Gonzalez, whose recovery from a right oblique strain and return to the rotation this month effectively has given the Orioles six starting pitchers, had been likely to start Tuesday, with Gausman following Wednesday. Now Ubaldo Jimenez, who started Friday's 5-3 loss to the Yankees, could start on regular rest Wednesday.

Right-handers Evan Meek and Brad Brach could be called up today as relief options for the Orioles' series against the New York Yankees. Right-hander Preston Guilmet also is an option, though he pitched one scoreless inning of relief Friday night for the Tides.

The 23-year-old Gausman is coming off the best start of his young career, having held Tampa Bay to five hits and no runs in six innings while striking out five batters and walking none in a 2-0 win Wednesday. Gausman (3-1) has allowed a combined two earned runs in the three starts since being called up from Norfolk, lowering his ERA to 2.74.

Gausman, who started the season in the minor leagues, rejoined the Tides in mid-May after he allowed five earned runs in four innings of a 7-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers, his first major league start this season. He remained in Triple A for about three weeks before rejoining the Orioles, with whom he has remained and excelled.