Norris designated but confident in abilities
Orioles open spot for Parra; right-hander awaits next step
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles designated Bud Norris for assignment on Friday, clearing a roster spot for new outfielder Gerardo Parra and cutting ties with one of their best starters during last year's American League Championship Series run.
"I never got my mind right, and I'm physically still getting back to where I need to be," said Norris, who pitched to a 6.79 ERA before being moved to the bullpen. "I know what I'm capable of. I want to get back to pitching and helping somebody. What happened in 2014 I won't forget, and I will take it with me forever."
The 30-year-old Norris posted a career-high 15 wins along with a 3.65 ERA last year. Norris went 8-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 13 second-half starts, helping the Orioles win the AL East and earning a start in the AL Division Series. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a win against the Tigers and took a loss in the ALCS against the Royals, giving up four runs over 4 1/3 innings as part of the O's four-game sweep.
"Absolutely I needed to get out of Houston and came over to a great situation where they were playing meaningful games," said Norris, a Trade Deadline pickup in 2013. " didn't go the way I envisioned, and [I] came back rejuvenated and had an amazing 2014. It was so much fun for the fan base and the team, and I'll never forget it."
Part of the Orioles' Opening Day rotation, Norris never looked in sync this spring, and sickness -- which caused him to lose considerable weight and go on the disabled list -- didn't help matters. He was moved to the 'pen and made seven appearances, bringing his line to a combined 2-9 with a 7.06 ERA in 18 games (11 starts) with the O's this season.
"We tried him in the starting role. We transitioned him to relief, and he just didn't have a lot of success. We're going to try and find a spot for him with another club," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "That was a disappointment, I think. I know it's a personal disappointment for me. I was disappointed we couldn't help him perform more or he couldn't perform better this season because he had a great year last season."
Norris said he doesn't want to be a distraction, and he was planning on heading home to San Francisco to see his family while he waits for the next step.
"There are eight more free agents in that clubhouse, a lot of moving pieces," Norris said. "I'm obviously going through some stuff, but I honestly wish them well and hope they can finish strong."
Duquette said the O's explored trading Norris in every discussion they had leading up to the Deadline and wasn't optimistic a waiver deal would get done soon.
"I'm not sure about that. We're going to try," Duquette said. "He's a veteran pitcher. He's healthy. That's what's puzzling. I'm disappointed we couldn't find a solution to that."