Orioles face difficult roster decision in making room for Gausman

Baltimore Orioles picther Kevin Gausman throws against the Boston Red Sox on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Baltimore Orioles picther Kevin Gausman throws against the Boston Red Sox on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. (Lloyd Fox / The Baltimore Sun)

TAMPA -- Right-hander Kevin Gausman will be activated from the disabled list today and will make his season debut against the Tampa Bay Rays, but his return leaves the Orioles with their most difficult roster decision in the first month of the regular season.

With Yovani Gallardo on the disabled list, Gausman's return gives the Orioles five healthy starters, not counting right-hander Vance Worley, who Orioles manager Buck Showalter said will work out of the bullpen for the time being.


Right-handers Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright both have minor league options, but Showalter said Sunday that Wilson is slated to start on Thursday when the Orioles return home to face the Chicago White Sox.

Showalter didn't make that same guarantee with Wright after he allowed five runs over 6 1/3 innings in the Orioles' 6-1 loss in Kansas City, but he called Wright's start "quality" despite the fact that Wright was chased out of the game four batters into a four-run seventh inning.


Optioning Wilson or Wright would force the Orioles to play patchwork with their rotation later this week and would leave the club vulnerable without long relief depth.

Left-hander T.J. McFarland, who tossed five scoreless innings on Friday, can be sent down, but  will likely be available again in long relief on Monday after having two days off. McFarland is always a valuable asset as the club's lefty long man because he turns opposing lineups over following the Orioles' entirely right-handed rotation.

The only other optionable piece to the bullpen is right-hander Mychal Givens, who has recorded seven straight scoreless outings and is coming off his best pressure-filled outing of the season, stranding the bases loaded in the sixth inning to help preserve Saturday's win over the Royals.

That creates a pick-your-poison decision for the Orioles in adding Gausman.

A couple of minor-league items:

-- The major league staff has taken notice of right-handed reliever Chaz Roe's strong start with Triple-A Norfolk, but it will be difficult for the Orioles to carry him because he can't be moved back to the minors without subjecting him to waivers.

Roe has allowed one run over 8 2/3 relief innings this season, posting a 1.04 ERA. He's allowed five hits and has compiled 17 strikeouts and just one walk.

Reports out of Norfolk are that Roe is one of the best pitchers on the Tides staff, and he looks like he's getting back to the form he showed when he first joined the Orioles bullpen last May. Roe didn't allow a run in his first six outings with the team and posted a 0.90 ERA over his first 20 relief innings spanning 15 appearances.

If the Orioles needed a bullpen arm from Norfolk, he's probably the first player they'd consider. They'd have to add him to the 40-man roster. And even though they were able to pass Roe through waivers late in spring training, it would be difficult to do that again given his hot start.

-- It was a surprise to see first base prospect Trey Mancini open the season back at Double-A Bowie after winning an Eastern League batting title there last season, but after a scalding start, he didn't stay there long. Mancini was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk following Sunday's game.

Mancini did everything he needed to do to earn a promotion, hitting .302/.413/.698 with seven homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games with the Baysox. Coming into Sunday's game, Mancini was leading the Eastern League in homers (7), slugging percentage (.759), runs (18), total bases (44) and extra base hits (10).


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