Grant Balfour's two-year, $15 million deal with the Orioles is now in major jeopardy, after team doctors expressed concern with Balfour's right shoulder during his physical, according to industry sources.
Kevin Gausman is 0-2 with an ERA of 11 in his first two major-league starters. He has given up four homers, has a WHIP of 2.00 and has struck out just five. But the Orioles are wise to stick with him a little longer.
If you really wanted to go there, you could probably make a case that Kevin Gausman's major league debut was not any more successful than several of the other spot starts that the Orioles have gotten from their minor league call-ups this season.
To clear a roster spot for right-hander Miguel Gonzalez's return from the disabled list Tuesday, the Orioles optioned right-hander Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A Norfolk after just one start with the big league club.
Less than two weeks ago, the Baltimore Orioles were tied for first place in the American League East. Now, with the rotation struggling, closer Jim Johnson having blown back-to-back save opportunities, and seemingly every bounce going the other way, the Orioles have lost five straight games and are tied for third place.
If they are going to continue to be successful, if they are going to hang around toward the top of the American League East standings all year, the Orioles have to buck this recent trend of short, uneven starts from their rotation.
Jason Hammel was rocked for a season-high seven runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings as part of a 17-hit Tampa Bay hit parade Friday, but a furious Orioles late-inning rally fell just short in a 12-10 loss to the Rays in front of an announced 38,061 at Camden Yards.
Right-hander Jair Jurrjens, who made the National League All-Star team two years ago with the Atlanta Braves, arrived in the Orioles clubhouse on Friday afternoon to prepare for Saturday's start against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Orioles left-hander Zach Britton was hoping to get more than one start to show the organization that he had regained the form that made him one of the club's most promising pitchers a few years ago. He is going to have to do that again at Triple-A.