Right-hander Jake Arrieta will join the Orioles today as an extra-bullpen arm for tonight's game against the Red Sox, according to an industry source.
If Arrieta, who will replace right-hander Kevin Gausman on the team's 25-man roster, does see action tonight, he would be working on normal rest after he last pitched Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk. Right-hander Freddy Garcia, who went to the bullpen Wednesday night in extra innings, will also be available out of the bullpen tonight in a pinch.
The Orioles used seven pitchers in their 13-inning win over Boston on Thursday, so they need to replenish their pen for Friday and to get through the rest of the four-game series. Also, the heavy-hitting Tigers loom ahead Monday through Wednesday in Detroit, so the Orioles hope their bullpen can survive until Thursday's off day.
Arrieta has struggled at Norfolk, allowing 15 earned runs in his past two starts over a span of 10 1/3 innings. He is 3-3 with a 5.50 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) with the Tides. The Orioles recalled Arrieta on May 18 and optioned him back to Norfolk on May 23 without pitching in a game.
The Orioles will lose right-hander Miguel Gonzalez as some point over the next few days because his wife is about to give birth to the couple's first child. Gonzalez is scheduled to pitch Sunday, but if he misses that start for paternity leave, left-hander Zach Britton is scheduled to pitch Sunday in Norfolk and could be an easy fit. Arrieta could also start that game if he isn't used out of the bullpen, and left-handed long man T.J. McFarland, who threw a scoreless 13th Thursday and earned his first major-league win, could also earn a spot start.
If Gonzalez is placed on the paternity list, the Orioles could recall Gausman without having him fulfill the mandatory 10-day option window before returning to the big leagues – just like with a DL move. But it's not necessarily guaranteed that Gausman gets that call. Thursday's off day would allow the Orioles to keep Gausman in the minors for 10 days and then call him up when that window is complete and he'd just miss one start.
But the Orioles' priority now is getting to that Thursday off day without compromising the bullpen, especially facing teams like Boston and Detroit. So if the team, say, needs a left-handed relief arm like Mike Belfiore before he's eligible to return on Tuesday, they could use Gonzalez's paternity move to recall him early. Also the team could turn to a reliever not on the 40-man to add an extra bullpen arm.