Orioles right-hander Bud Norris said he was "a little bummed out" about being placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a right groin strain, but he understands the club is best served when he is fully healthy.
"I want to do my job. I just want to pitch every fifth day and win as many ballgames as I can and stay healthy," said Norris, who is 7-5 with a 3.62 ERA in 14 starts this season. "I'm a little bummed out about it, but I've got to take care of it and get back out there as soon as I can."
Perhaps the club's most consistent and effective starter this season, Norris left Saturday's game at Yankee Stadium before the sixth inning because tightness in his right groin. He threw a bullpen session Wednesday in front of pitching coach Dave Wallace and again felt pain.
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"It definitely didn't feel as good as I wanted it to," said Norris, who'd never had a right groin injury. "I was grimacing a little bit and [Wallace] made the decision to shut it down."
A MRI on Thursday confirmed a strain, sending Norris to the DL retroactive to June 22. He won't do baseball activities for five days, and there is no set timetable for his return. But if all goes well, he could be back when eligible July 7, which is the first game in Washington of a home-and-home four-game set against the Nationals.
The team initially scratched Norris' scheduled start Friday night but was hopeful he would be able to pitch by Tuesday, when the Orioles next needed a starter. Once the doctors prescribed five days of rest, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said his decision was apparent. A DL move can be backdated a maximum of 10 days.
"When they said it was going to be four or five days before he should get on the hill again, that would take us to the 10 days [to backdate the move]," Showalter said. "So waiting around is not very beneficial. We feel confident we can resolve it in the DL period."
Figuring out Tuesday's starter
The Orioles had six starting pitchers heading into Thursday's off day and now, in a weird twist, are looking for a spot starter for Tuesday against the Texas Rangers.
Kevin Gausman, who started the first game of Friday's doubleheader as the designated "26th man," had to be returned to the minors after Friday's games for three more days to fulfill the 10-day requirement from his most recent demotion June 20. He is eligible to come back Tuesday, but if he started then, he would be pitching on three days' rest instead of four. And Showalter said he didn't want to do that to the 23-year-old pitching prospect, especially not this early in the season.
"In June, first of July, I wouldn't do that. I don't think that is smart," Showalter said. "Not fair to him or the team or the organization or the fans, because I think that puts him in harm's way."
So with Norris out and Gausman not being considered, the Orioles most likely candidate for Tuesday's spot start is left-handed long reliever T.J. McFarland. But Showalter said he won't know McFarland's availability until the Orioles get through a few more games.
"Depends on what happens between now and then," Showalter said Friday. "We are going to try to win every game we can and see what's standing on Tuesday."
Showalter said veteran Randy Wolf, signed to a minor league deal Sunday, probably isn't an option because he likely couldn't go longer than three innings and 50 pitches right now. Left-hander Johan Santana would have been a perfect fit, but he is lost for the season with an Achilles tendon injury.
The only healthy starting option in the minors who is on the 40-man roster is Double-A lefty Tim Berry. The Orioles, however, are only at 38, so they could add a pitcher to the 40-man roster without having to remove another player.
"We'll be all right. We've got some good options," Showalter said. "That's kind of where you were hoping Johan would fit in."
Meek inherits runner
The Orioles replaced Bud Norris on active roster with reliever Evan Meek, who is making his fourth stint with the team this season.
"Lost count," said Meek, who had a 2.79 ERA and three saves in 17 games for the Tides. "You put all that aside, because that's not really relevant. You get called up. If the phone rings and you got to go in and pitch, you just go and try to get outs."
Meek entered in the sixth Friday afternoon in relief of Gausman and allowed a RBI single to Sean Rodriguez to score an inherited runner before recording a double play and strikeout. Overall, he struck out two and was charged with no runs and one hit in two innings, dropping his Orioles ERA to 5.52 in 14 outings.