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Kevin Gausman likely to remain in Orioles rotation, Bud Norris likely to bullpen

Orioles pitcher Bud Norris reacts after making an error on a bunt by Boston Red Sox's Sandy Leon during the sixth inning at Fenway Park, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Boston.
Orioles pitcher Bud Norris reacts after making an error on a bunt by Boston Red Sox's Sandy Leon during the sixth inning at Fenway Park, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Boston. (Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

CHICAGO — Even though Orioles manager Buck Showalter has yet to announce his rotation plans beyond this weekend's series against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, all signs point to right-hander Kevin Gausman remaining in the rotation and veteran right-hander Bud Norris being demoted to the bullpen.

After throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings Thursday in his second big league start of 2015, Gausman accompanied the team to Chicago. He said Friday that he didn't know whether he'd make another start, but would likely find out Saturday on his scheduled work day.

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"He's here," Showalter said. "We're going to see how we get through tonight and what have you. We have some options there and we'll see how the smoke settles. I'll have a better answer for you postgame or tomorrow. But he's here for a reason, to pitch. I told y'all that he controls it. He pitched well and we want to continue to give him innings, either here or in Norfolk, to make sure he has enough. He did pretty good, didn't he?"

As for Norris, Showalter said he would be available out of the bullpen for a second consecutive game in Friday's series opener in Chicago, but added that Norris had been feeling ill and was scheduled to see a doctor before the game.

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Showalter hasn't announced the Orioles rotation beyond Sunday. Norris last pitched Monday, allowing five runs on nine hits including four homers over six innings against the Rangers. He would have been in line to make his next start Sunday, but Showalter said right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will be starting that game.

"We'll take it through this series and go from there," Showalter said. "We've got a lot of people available. We've got an off-day coming up [Thursday] and also with the All-Star break, so we've got some things we can do. So let's see how we get through this series."

Approached about his status, Norris declined to comment.

"It would benefit the team for him to [do] a lot of different things," Showalter said about Norris. "He's already contributed and he will again. We'll see what each day brings and how we can best win a baseball game that night. But we'd like to stay at seven pitchers down there [in the bullpen] as long as we can."

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Norris, who is 2-7 with a 6.79 ERA, has lost five of his past six decisions and has posted just three quality starts in 11 outings this season.

If Gausman does indeed remain in the rotation, he would make back-to-back major league starts for the first time since last season, when he was exclusively a starter for the first time in his big league career, going 7-7 with a 3.57 ERA in 20 starts.

"As a starting pitcher, it's all about your routine," Gausman said. "Last year, knowing I was pitching every fifth day, I felt like I got better as the year went on. At the end of the year, I was pitching the best I have at the major league level.

"When you get that every fifth day, you know when you are going to pitch, you know you are going to throw your side this day, you know what you are doing in the weight room and running-wise. It sets up everything for the day you pitch."

Gausman opened the season as a reliever, but returned to starting after going on the disabled list so he can continue to log innings, partially so the team could prepare him to be a full-time member of the rotation in 2016.

"Getting in a routine will be something that definitely my body will thank me for," Gausman said. "It's one of those things, it's just been kind of crazy. It's one of those things, we don't have that much roster flexibility right now and there's a couple guys who have to do it and deal with it because we are young. That's just kind of part of the business, I guess."

Schoop joins Frederick to continue rehab

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop continued his rehabilitation assignment Friday at High-A Frederick. Schoop still could be an option to be activated from the DL on Monday, but could possibly rejoin the team sooner.

"Jon's about ready," Showalter said. "He's close to Brady [Anderson] and the trainers signing off on him. Regardless of whether we have a need or don't have a need, every game that Jon can get down there [helps]. … I think we're getting to the point where he comes back here without thinking about it at all. It's around the corner."

Schoop could return for Monday's series opener in Minnesota when outfielder Nolan Reimold is scheduled to go on the paternity list for the birth of his daughter.

Schoop, who began his rehab assignment with one hit in his first 11 at-bats, entered Friday's game 8 for his last 21. He had also homered in four of his five games heading into Friday.

Garcia to start rehab assignment Monday

Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia (right shoulder tendinitis), who has been on the DL since May 13, is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday, Showalter said.

Garcia must be on the active major league roster for at least 90 days to fulfill Rule 5 requirements, allowing the Orioles to keep him without offering him back to the Boston Red Sox. Since service time includes when rosters expand in September, Garcia must still serve 20 days on the big league roster between now and September.

Garcia pitched to a 5.93 ERA in eight games (13 2/3 innings) before going on the DL.

Around the horn

The Orioles entered Friday's game 36-0 when holding a lead after seven innings — tied for the best mark in the majors — and 39-0 with a lead after eight frames. … Not only did the Orioles enter Friday with a major league-leading 23 outfield assists, but the team's outfielders ranked third in the majors with 20 defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs. … Thursday's 2-0 loss to Texas was just the sixth home game this season without a homer by either team.

eencina@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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