Kevin Gausman

Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman warms up at the start of the spring training exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium. (Jonathan Dyer / USA Today Sports / March 23, 2014)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman has landed on the minor-league disabled list with a case of focal pneumonia.

The club initially believed that Gausman, currently pitching for Triple-A Norfolk, had a left intercostal muscle strain and cited that as his injury when he was placed on the DL early Friday evening.

But an MRI performed Friday in Norfolk revealed the pneumonia. Gausman dealt with a chest cold for about a week last month. The pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics.

"It's nothing that would prevent him from pitching as soon as he feels better," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "[Head trainer] Richie [Bancells] said he's out of it, he's real drained. First time he thought he was having a stroke or a heart attack, his whole chest. So they went for an MRI today and they thought there was a spot. We are treating it very serious right now."

Gausman woke up early Thursday morning with pain in his rib cage, something that was uncomfortable enough to interrupt his sleep at 4 a.m. He was observed by the doctors at Norfolk, who initially believed the injury was an intercostal muscle strain.

The 23-year-old Gausman was scratched from Friday's scheduled start at Norfolk. The minor league disabled list is for just seven days. The DL move is retroactive to this past Tuesday, so he would be eligible to come off on Wednesday.

Gausman has been limited to 75 pitches in each of his first five starts this season in an effort to preserve him to help the big league club late in the season.

"Look at the positive side, it's another decrease of innings pitched," Showalter joked. "There's a silver lining to everything, right?"

Gausman is 0-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 211/3 innings at Norfolk. He hasn't gone more than five innings, but has recorded scoreless outings in three of his five starts.

Pearce happy to contribute in first game back

There might not have been a player happier to make the Orioles' early-morning flight to Minneapolis than Steve Pearce.

In his first game action in 17 days — a span that included him being designated for assignment, going on release waivers, being claimed by the Blue Jays, refusing that claim, becoming a free agent and being re-signed by the Orioles — Pearce made an instant impact. He singled in his first three at bats against the Pirates in a 5-1 win in the first game of the doubleheader on Thursday.

"You know what, I went into the game not worried," Pearce said. "I didn't go in there nervous and everything. I wasn't worried about mechanics. I just knew I was going to go out there and grind and just trust everything I've been doing. I wasn't stressing. I was like, 'Let's go, let's party.'"

Before Thursday — when he played 19 innings — Pearce's last game was April 13. He will be the regular first baseman for the foreseeable future as Chris Davis recovers from an oblique strain.

"One of the reasons I got sent out, and Buck told me, was because the opportunity just wasn't here," Pearce said. "He told me I deserved to play. … When Chris went down, suddenly the opportunity was there. Now I'm back where I want to be and I'm able to help the team."

Around the horn

In Thursday's doubleheader, closer Tommy Hunter became the first Orioles pitcher to earn a win and a save in the same day since Jorge Julio on Aug. 3, 2004 against Seattle. Hunter was also the first to do it facing three or fewer batters since Minnesota's Ray Corbin on July 26, 1973. … Outfielder Francisco Peguero (right wrist sprain) is slated to DH in an extended spring game on Saturday in Sarasota. … Double-A Bowie right-hander Zach Davies was placed on the minor-league disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, retroactive to Wednesday. Davies is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA in four starts over 171/3 innings. … The Orioles usually wear black jerseys on Fridays, but wore their traditional gray road jerseys on Friday because the Twins wear blue jerseys on Fridays and Major League Baseball rules state both teams can't wear dark tops.

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