Gausman to stay in rotation, Norris in bullpen
CHICAGO -- Bud Norris was informed prior to Friday's game that he will be in the Orioles' bullpen for the foreseeable future, with right-hander Kevin Gausman taking his rotation spot and starting Tuesday.
"We said all along that he controls it, and he did. Or we did," O's manager Buck Showalter said of Gausman, who pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rangers on Thursday. "We are trying to run our best five starters out there and right now we think Kevin is one of them. He will start on Tuesday. That's his normal day. Really wanted to keep him in turn, whether it was here or Norfolk. Wanted him to get a consistent routine."
For Gausman, that consistency will be key in a challenging season that saw him start the year as part of the bullpen, hit the disabled list and be optioned back and forth from Triple-A Norfolk several times, including after his first big league start of 2015.
"We like Kevin and we like all our pitchers and we think he's a guy on a given night that gives us a good chance to win," Showalter said of Gausman, who has a 3.09 ERA in 10 games, including two starts, for Baltimore this year. "As evidenced by his last outing and a lot of outings. He's been doing it for a while. Obviously, we are all about this year and today's game and tomorrow's game, but you are thinking down the road, too."
For Norris, who owns a 6.79 ERA in 11 starts this season, the demotion is the latest in a disappointing 2015 season in which he landed on the DL early and has been unable to regain the 2014 form that saw him capture a career-high 15 wins.
"He's not the first one this has happened to. It's not like the baseball gods are picking on him," Showalter said. "He'll be all right. He's professional and he knows how important that role is. I'll give him some time. It's tough. You do take it personal, mostly because you want to be a contributor like he's been in the past. Like I told him, he's the guy we picked to pitch Game 3 trying to get to the World Series. We certainly have confidence in him, but he's capable of a lot better level than he's pitching at right now."
Norris was an integral part of last year's club and pitched to an 8-2 record with a 3.27 ERA in 13 second-half starts. He also threw 6 1/3 shutout innings in Game 3 of the AL Division Series.
"Bud's done some good things for us and will again," said Showalter, who added that Norris would be their first choice should a spot start or injury force another opening. "Right now, we have a need for him to pitch out of the bullpen, something that he could really help us with. I don't have much doubt that he'll be starting again for us. It might be a good little step back for us.
"I know he doesn't agree with it, but I understand that. That's the competitive nature in all of us. I'd rather be up front and him hear it from me."
Norris (2-8) ended up with the loss on Saturday after allowing one run on no hits, one walk and three strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings in the Orioles' 3-2 setback against the White Sox. His leadoff walk in the eighth inning came around to score when Darren O'Day was tagged for an RBI double by pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck.