In case you were now sure that Kevin Gausman was headed to the bullpen for the regular season, hold that thought.
It's still probably the most likely scenario, simply because the Orioles believe Gausman could provide more out of the bullpen than other starting candidates who could be sent there, such as Ubaldo Jimenez or Miguel Gonzalez.
So, after Gausman pitched just one inning Thursday in Lakeland, Fla., the assumption was that he would remain in the bullpen for the remainder of the spring.
But Orioles manager Buck Showalter threw another curve Friday afternoon, saying that Gausman could get the start Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium. Gausman will start that game, Showalter said, assuming there are no rainouts between now and then. It would be a normal length outing – of five or so innings – if Gausman gets that opportunity.
That starting assignment, however, may provide another clue that Gausman is headed to the bullpen. Showalter doesn't like to have his regular season starters pitch again division opponents this close to the season, so whoever starts Tuesday almost certainly wouldn't start at Tropicana Field in the first three games of the season.
If you're slightly confused, well, that's life figuring out the Orioles in the spring.
Some other notes:
** There was a brief rain shower before Friday's home game against the Rays, but it has appeared to clear up. Rain is expected for later in the day, however.
** Jonathan Schoop was back in the starting lineup after having two teeth pulled Wednesday.
** Darren O'Day is the latest Oriole to be dealing with dental issues. He had a root canal Friday.
** David Lough (back stiffness) is improving and should be back to playing by Sunday's split-squad games.
** Cuts are expected Sunday night after the split-squad contests.