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.

Report: Nationals sign reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year deal

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Both a Kinsler and a Kintzler made headlines at the Winter Meetings. After the Angels acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Nationals have inked reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year contract, pending a physical. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the deal is worth $10 million and includes a third-year option worth $6 million.

Kintzler, 33, spent the latter half of his 2017 campaign with the Nationals after the Twins traded him. Between both clubs, he put up an aggregate 3.03 ERA with 29 saves and a 39/16 K/BB ratio in 71 1/3 innings.

Sean Doolittle will handle save situations for the Nationals. Kintzler and Ryan Madson will bridge the gap to him in the seventh and eighth innings.