Norfolk pitching staff full of options as Orioles bullpen shuffle continues
By By Jon Meoli
The Baltimore Sun|
May 20, 2014 at 2:23 PM
Kevin Gausman rejoins the Triple-A Norfolk pitching staff Tuesday night, a week after he made his season debut for the major league club at Camden Yards.
He'll take the mound as part of a Tides pitching staff with plenty of players who have also seen time in the majors this year, and several others who could.
And though the Orioles rotation has turned a corner of late and is giving the club length every night, the shuttle between Baltimore and Norfolk has been taking pitchers back and forth rather frequently to fill bullpen roles.
Here are some of the top performers who could provide bullpen reinforcements in the coming weeks:
T.J. McFarland: McFarland has had two bullpen stints with the Orioles this season, but he is working as a starter in Norfolk. Since he was last sent down May 11, McFarland has made one start, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing three runs and four hits with six strikeouts. He is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in five starts for Norfolk, but he will likely always be on the team's mind if they need a left-hander in a pinch.
Nick Additon: Additon has hopped between the starting rotation and the bullpen for the Tides, and his length could give the Orioles a long-man option in the bullpen. Though he's not on the 40-man roster, Additon has a 2.84 ERA in 11 appearances (two starts) for the Tides. He allowed five runs in five innings in his start May 5, and pitched two more relief appearances before his second start — a 4 2/3-inning, shutout effort May 15.
Josh Stinson: Like Additon, Stinson, who was outrighted off the 40-man roster on May 2, has been pitching multiple-inning stints in the Tides bullpen this year. He has allowed five earned runs in 12 1/3 innings and has a Triple-A WHIP under 1.00, but his future with the major league club is complicated by the fact that he's not on the 40-man roster.
Preston Guilmet: Manager Buck Showalter was almost effusive in his praise of Guilmet during the right-hander's brief stay in Baltimore last week, and his success in his two shutout appearances will likely stick with the decision-makers going forward. Guilmet has allowed nine earned runs in 17 Triple-A innings, and six of those came in one outing. Expect to see him back in Baltimore before long.
Heath Bell: This is a wild card, and I doubt he'd be as willing to ride the Triple-A shuttle like the pitchers listed ahead of him, but there has to be a reason Bell was brought into the fold. He had a 7.27 ERA in 13 appearances for the Tampa Bay Rays before they let him go, and Bell isn't the dominant closer he was in San Diego, but he could give the team some more experience at the back end should things in the bullpen fall apart.