Kevin Gausman allowed just one run over 5 1/3 innings and struck out a career-high seven batters yesterday in a start against the Red Sox, but the Orioles announced this afternoon that he has been optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk. While it’s a little strange on the surface, they have done it with an eye on his workload.
Gausman has already logged 78 2/3 innings this season between the majors and the minors. The 23-year-old right-hander threw 129 2/3 innings last year, so a big jump could put him at risk for being shut down in September. Orioles manager Buck Showalter told Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com that today’s decision will allow Gausman to pitch the rest of the year without an innings limit.
“Instead of knee-jerking with it yesterday, we decided to think about it a little bit because we had a day to play with. His last day down there if we wanted to bring him back would be the last day of the All-Star break. So this allows us, if and when he comes back, to use him for the rest of the year according to how the opposition lets him go in the game. That, and we needed a relief pitcher (today). We needed an arm in the bullpen.
“You just don’t want to have it jump up on us the middle of September or something and not be able to us him.”
Gausman owns a 3.51 ERA and 24/13 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings over six starts with the Orioles this season and has allowed one earned run or less in four of them. He could make a major impact during the second half if the Orioles take the reins off him.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.