Orioles right-hander Bud Norris knew that a few days off from throwing wouldn't completely alleviate the stiffness in his elbow, but his arm is feeling better after his first throwing session since Wednesday.
Norris had a light throwing session on Sunday and while he felt some slight stiffness in the elbow, he's still optimistic he can return to the Orioles' starting rotation late in the week.
"It's something where couple days off, I feel a lot better," Norris said. "And I'm pleased with the results. … After taking a couple days off, I knew stuff was still going to be in there, going to be a little tight and sore, but I'm excited with the progress."
Norris will next throw a bullpen on Tuesday in Boston. If he's able to throw a regular between-starts side session and comes out of it well, he could return to the rotation either Friday or Saturday in Tampa Bay.
"It went well," Showalter said. "He said he feels it just a little bit, but we'll see what happens between now and Tuesday. I can't tell you he didn't feel anything today, but it's much improved than where he was. I think Tuesday will tell the tale of where he fits it."
The starting pitcher had said his elbow bothered him for the past several starts, and it finally reached the point where rest was needed to help alleviate the problem.
Norris, acquired in a deadline-deal trade with the Astros, said he will try to pitch through it, especially given the magnitude of the upcoming games with the Orioles still chasing a playoff spot.
"Especially where we are in the playoff race and everything, I want to be on the field," Norris said. "You are going to fight through a lot of stuff, these guys are too. So I understand where I'm at and I definitely want to get back out there when I'm ready."
Norris, who is 4-2 with a 4.67 ERA in nine appearances with the Orioles, missed his scheduled start on Friday and was replaced by right-hander Jason Hammel.
Ordinarily, Hammel could make another start if Norris wasn't ready this weekend. But with right-hander Miguel Gonzalez's status now uncertain after leaving Sunday's game with a right groin strain, another starter could be shelved.
Orioles faded to black on Saturday
The Orioles players, hoping their success with runners in scoring position from Friday's 5-3 win in Toronto would rub off, voted to wear their black Friday jerseys on Saturday but couldn't repeat the previous night's success.
The Orioles went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position in a 4-3 loss to the Jays on Saturday a day after going 4-for-11, but the jersey switch showed how the Orioles are trying anything to cure their woes.
Over their last 22 games, the Orioles are hitting .184 (37-for-201) with runners in scoring position. They went 7-for-30 in their three-game series in Toronto after going 13-for-63 on their recent eight-game homestand.
The Orioles are still fifth-best in the majors this season with a .268 average with runners in scoring position.
Around the horn
The Orioles had to remove Henry Urrutia from the restricted list when they arrived in Boston. Urrutia was unable to make the trip to Toronto because of visa issues. Dan Johnson filled Urrutia's spot to give the Orioles an additional left-handed bat, but they would have to make a 40-man move to keep Johnson with Urrutia coming off the restricted list. ... Orioles rookies had brightly-colored costumes waiting for them in their lockers after Sunday's game, some complete with women's high heel shoes, to wear for their flight to Boston. … With his first-inning single, Adam Jones has hit safely in seven straight games against Toronto. Over the past two seasons, Jones has hit safely in 32 of 34 games against the Blue Jays. … SS J.J. Hardy's seven-game hitting streak was snapped Sunday. … After stranding the bases loaded in the seventh, RHP Tommy Hunter has stranded 24 of 28 inherited runners this season. … Right-hander Darren O'Day (finger tingling and numbness) could resume throwing Monday in Sarasota, depending on whether the two injections he received Friday helped reduce the nerve inflammation in his wrist and hand area.