BALTIMORE - Kevin Gausman's season debut is set for Wednesday afternoon, and the Orioles' No. 2 prospect is ready to get back into a big-league groove.
It's been a trying season for Gausman, who recently spent time on the minor league disabled list with pneumonia but came back with no ill effects and did enough to impress Baltimore and earn a promotion from Class-AAA Norfolk.
Gausman will be pitching on three days' rest, having pitched Saturday for the Tides, and he's scheduled to face Detroit ace Justin Verlander in the series finale.
"It's been kind of crazy," Gausman said. "I started off the season sick and had to grind through not feeling good, but that's just part of baseball. Especially being a starting pitcher, there are going to be days where you're going to feel like crap and you're going to have to go out there and throw innings for the team."
The Orioles used Gausman, 23, as a starter last year before moving him to the bullpen, where he last saw action in September. He was 3-5 with a 5.66 ERA in 2013, one year after Baltimore took him with the fourth pick in the draft.
He was 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in six starts for the Tides and went through a scare before he was placed on the DL May 2. The organization feared Gausman strained a muscle in his chest, but an MRI confirmed pneumonia instead.
"When the doctor told me, I was happy," Gausman said. "I was like, 'Hell, yeah!' And he was like, 'That's probably the first time anyone has ever been happy to have that.' ... They said it might have been a cracked rib, intercostal strain, stuff like that. We didn't really know until we found out that day. It was kind of a crazy two days."
Gausman is taking Wei-Yin Chen's spot in Baltimore's rotation. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Chen will pitch Thursday in Kansas City, and Chris Tillman is slated for Friday. But Showalter said he wants to wait and see Tillman's side-day session because the ace is dealing with some tenderness in his groin. The Orioles are also waiting to see if Bud Norris gets suspended because of his hitting Detroit's Torii Hunter and subsequent ejection Monday night.
Miguel Gonzalez will be available out of the bullpen Wednesday, Showalter said.
HEALTH UPDATES: Showalter said Dylan Bundy (elbow) threw 20 pitches of live batting practice Tuesday.
"Everything went real well. He threw all his pitches," Showalter said. "That was real encouraging. His velocity was good, actually a little firmer than I thought it would be."
Outfielder Nolan Reimold (neck) is able to go through a full slate of baseball activities, Showalter said.
Left-handed pitcher Johan Santana (shoulder) is scheduled to pitch Friday in extended spring training, while prospect Eduardo Rodriguez (knee) should throw a four-inning game Wednesday in Sarasota, Fla.
BIRD BITS: The Orioles went into Tuesday's game batting .279 with runners in scoring position, good for second best in the AL. Detroit was tops in the league at .282. ... Nick Markakis had his 18-game hitting streak ended Monday with a 0-for-4 night. Markakis batted .356 during the streak with three doubles, two home runs, and eight RBIs.