Orioles send Kevin Gausman to Triple-A; will call him back up next week

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UPDATE: According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Orioles manager Buck Showalter confirmed this morning that the plan is for Gausman to return next Friday.

10:45 a.m. ET: The Orioles made a surprising move after last night’s walk-off loss to the Yankees, as they optioned right-hander Kevin Gausman down to Triple-A Norfolk. Brad Brach has been called up from the minors to add some depth to the bullpen.

While the decision looks like a head-scratcher on the surface, there is some logic behind it, as the Orioles can bring Gausman back to the majors to start in a doubleheader against the Rays next Friday. Unless there’s an injury, usually players who are optioned must spend 10 days in the minors before they are eligible to be called back up. However, that’s not the case if the player is the designated “26th man” for a doubleheader. It appears that the Orioles will go that route with Gausman.

The 23-year-old Gausman has been the Orioles’ best starter of late, allowing just two runs in 19 innings across three outings.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.