TORONTO — The Orioles continued to shuttle right-hander Kevin Gausman between the majors and minors on Sunday, optioning one of their top young pitchers to Triple-A Norfolk one day after he returned from the disabled list and pitched five strong innings in a 5-3 win.
Right-hander Oliver Drake was recalled from Triple-A to give the Orioles an additional reliever.
Since making his major league debut on May 23, 2013 in Toronto, this is the sixth time Gausman, 24, has been optioned to the minor leagues.
With right-hander Miguel Gonzalez eligible to come off the disabled list and left-hander Wei-Yin Chen scheduled to rejoin the team after a short stint in High-A Frederick, Gausman didn't have a spot in the next turn of the starting rotation. The club decided to send him to Triple-A so he can continue to build his innings as a starter.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he received good reports on Gonzalez, who made a rehab start Saturday at Double-A Bowie, and left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who started for Frederick Saturday. Both are expected to rejoin the rotation this week; Gonzalez will start Thursday in Boston and Chen will start Friday against the Cleveland Indians at Camden Yards.
After opening this season with the big league club as a reliever, Gausman was being stretched out as a starter after going on the DL on May 8 with right shoulder tendinitis the team believed was caused by Gausman not pitching enough out of the bullpen.
After making three minor league rehabilitation starts, Gausman allowed two runs over five innings on Saturday, retiring 12 of the final 13 batters he faced and throwing a season-high 91 pitches. Showalter said the team wants Gausman to continue to build his innings as a starter so that he is ready to be in the starting rotation in 2016.
"I don't want the season over and him to have 80, 90 innings and expect him to throw 180, 200 innings next year," Showalter said. "That's not smart. We got to keep the end game in mind. If we bring him back here it will be as a starter initially. … We are going to keep Gaus pitching every fifth day. We think he has a chance to be in our rotation next year, possibly this year, who knows?
"There's no reason to keep him here when he's not going to start here and keep another arm that's fresh in the bullpen," Showalter added.
Showalter said the team needed a fresh arm in the bullpen and wanted to start Gausman's 10-day option window in case he's needed to make another spot start.
"It's tough, but he gets it," Showalter said of Gausman. "He's very mature, a professional. He's got a chance to be pretty good because he looks through things with professional, big-league eyes. He doesn't just get down there and throw up stats. He's trying to do things that will help him at the big league level. No one asks better questions than him. He's a watcher of the game, taking things in. I don't think he's going to miss an opportunity and it will be there for him shortly."
Jones not in starting lineup Sunday
Still ailing from a sore right shoulder, center fielder Adam Jones missed his fourth game in six days.
Jones had been the starting designated hitter the past two games, but hasn't played center field since Monday, when he injured his shoulder diving for a ball.
"He's a little sore today, which now makes me wonder," Showalter said. "It's not from the swings. It's from the activity, diving into the base. I thought that he would make a jump forward, so I want to take the benefit of a full day today and tomorrow and see what we got Tuesday."
Jones hadn't missed more than three games in a season since playing in 151 games in 2011.
He will get the benefit of an extra day of rest with the Orioles off on Monday and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday. Showalter said he's still confident Jones will avoid the disabled list.
"I'm confident from the standpoint of knowing him," Showalter said. "We had four options [on Friday] when we went there and one of them was that. Didn't feel like, getting feedback from Adam, I think we really want to see how he feels Tuesday and get our arms around where we really are with it."
Around the horn
Sunday's victory was Showalter's 1,295th career managerial win, tying him with Hall of Famer Cap Anson for 32nd on the all-time win list. … Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, currently on a minor league rehab assignment with Bowie, started his third consecutive game with the Baysox Sunday. When Schoop, who is on the disabled list with a partial PCL tear and MCL sprain in his right knee, began his rehab assignment it was unclear how often he'd play. It's still not clear when Schoop will return to the big league club. Schoop was 1-for-3 on Sunday; he started his rehab assignment 0-for-10. … The Orioles will conduct more tests to see why top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy's right shoulder inflammation hasn't gone away. Bundy, who hasn't pitched in a month and received a platelet-rich plasma injection, had an MRA Friday that showed inflammation in his shoulder. … The Orioles signed their third-round draft pick, Garrett Cleavinger, a left-hander out of the University of Oregon, the team announced. The Orioles have signed 30 of their 50 selections.