BOSTON — Without the advantage of being in their own facility on Saturday at Fenway Park, the Orioles needed to ensure that right-hander Bud Norris could test his strained right groin as scheduled.
So with the Orioles playing a split doubleheader, the club found a way to borrow the Fenway Park field so Norris could throw a simulated game. They traded their pregame afternoon batting practice session for field access between games, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Norris pitched two simulated innings after the first game of the doubleheader, which began at 1:05 p.m. and ended just before 4 p.m. He pitched to Orioles coaches Wayne Kirby and Einar Diaz as well as vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson. Between innings, Norris walked off the field and into the dugout to simulate a game inning.
If Norris comes out of the game well, he would become a candidate to fill an open starting slot for Wednesday's game against the Washington Nationals at Camden Yards. Norris is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday, but Wednesday appears more likely.
"Let's see how today goes," Showalter said. "I hope that goes well. I just didn't want to do the inside [work]. In fact, I think here they have one of those fake rubber mounds. You don't get anything out of that in the cage."
Otherwise, the starter for Saturday's early game — right-hander Miguel Gonzalez — would have to pitch Wednesday on short rest.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez was set to start the nightcap, and right-hander Kevin Gausman is slated to start Sunday's series finale in Boston. Right-hander Chris Tillman and left-hander Wei-Yin Chen are slated to pitch in Washington on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
Norris tested his groin during a pitchers' fielding practice session before Thursday's game, so facing hitters in a game scenario would be the final step before he can be activated from the DL.
Going with Gausman
Showalter said the club chose to start Gausman in Sunday's series finale partially because the other option, left-hander T.J. McFarland, might be needed to pitch in relief in the doubleheader.
"I think our bullpen, with the doubleheader today, chances are we're going to need him," Showalter said. "You've got to parlay that in there. What do you do, not bring a starter in and then you use T. J. to win a game and then not have somebody here for tomorrow? You've got to plan for both. We think this is the best way. If you look at all the variables and the things that could happen and normally do happen, you better prepare for that."
Gausman made an abbreviated start Wednesday, throwing 29 pitches in two innings for the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds. He will pitch Sunday on short rest.
League rules didn't allow Gausman to be in the clubhouse for the first game of the doubleheader, so he was scheduled to arrive in Boston before the second game.
Buck on Bundy
Top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy's first start at high Class A Frederick didn't go as smoothly as his first three minor league starts since coming back from Tommy John elbow ligament reconstruction surgery.
Bundy allowed just one run in three starts with Aberdeen, pitching to a 0.60 ERA and posting 22 strikeouts and three walks over 15 innings. But in his first start for the Keys on Friday, Bundy allowed three runs on four hits over with three strikeouts and two walks over 42/3 innings.
Showalter said the organization isn't surprised that his first outing wasn't as clean.
"It's a process, and he's right where he needs to be in the process," Showalter said. "The Carolina League is a big jump from Aberdeen. We felt like it might slow down a little bit there, which is good really. ... When they do these surgeries, you hope they impact the organization the following year, but really the history shows you it's the [next] year usually. But we'll see. Dylan's been a little different at every turn anyway."
Orioles bring up Guilmet to be 26th man
Right-handed reliever Preston Guilmet had just arrived in Charlotte, N.C., at 5 a.m. for a two-game series with his Triple-A Norfolk Tides teammates when he received a call Friday afternoon telling him to pack his bags for Boston.
In the event that a game is rained out and a split doubleheader is scheduled for the next day, major league teams are allowed to recall a 26th player to be available for the second game, but that player must go back down to the minors after the game. That honor Saturday went to Guilmet, who was set to fly from Boston to Durham, N.C., where the Tides open a two-game series Sunday.
Showalter wanted to bring up a reliever and position player to Boston and decide which was needed after the first game, , but wasn't allowed to by MLB rules, so he chose Guilmet as the 26th man. The Orioles had eight relievers before the addition of Guilmet.
Around the horn
Third baseman Manny Machado was eligible to return for the nightcap of the doubleheader after serving the final game of his five-game suspension for throwing a bat in a loss to the Oakland Athletics last month. … Showalter said he considered flipping Gonzalez and Jimenez in the doubleheader, but Jimenez's 0-5 record and 10.55 ERA in day games made it a quick assessment. … The Orioles entered the day having turned 99 double plays, the most in baseball and seven more than the second-place San Francisco Giants (92). … Orioles farmhand center fielder Mike Yastrzemski hit for the cycle for High-A Frederick on Saturday night, going 5-for-6 against the Lynchburg Hillcats. Yastrzemski needed a triple in his final at-bat to complete the cycle, doing so in the top of the ninth inning. He also hit two doubles, a single and his first homer for the Keys.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun