Orioles send Kevin Gausman back to Triple-A

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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.

Adam Eaton sustains leg injury after tripping over first base

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Nationals’ outfielder Adam Eaton was carried off the field after stumbling over first base on Friday night. In the ninth inning of the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Mets, Eaton appeared to catch his ankle on the bag as he ran out an infield single, suffering a leg injury on the fall. He was unable to put pressure on his left leg after the play and required assistance by two of the Nationals’ athletic trainers as he exited the field.

Eaton is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, but Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker told reporters that it “doesn’t look too good.” It’s the first significant leg injury the outfielder has sustained since 2014, when he went on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. He’ll likely be replaced by Michael Taylor in center field for the next couple of games, though that could be a temporary fix as the Nationals seek a better solution during Eaton’s recovery process.

Madison Bumgarner likely sidelined through the All-Star break

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It’s been just over a week since Giants’ left-hander Madison Bumgarner got a serious scare after a nasty dirt bike accident. He escaped with bruised ribs and a Grade 2 strain of his left shoulder AC joint, but there was some speculation that the injuries would cause a significant, if not permanent, setback in the southpaw’s career. Thankfully, things aren’t looking quite so bleak today. Not only will Bumgarner not require surgery, but he could return as soon as the week following the All-Star break, the Giants said Friday.

Of course, that timeline is wholly dependent on how smoothly the recovery process goes, so nothing is set in stone yet. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic estimates 2-3 months of rest and rehab, including “two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he’s big league-ready.” It’s a long and laborious schedule, but still looks much better than any surgical alternative.

Prior to the accident, Bumgarner was working on a solid start to the 2017 season. He maintained a 3.00 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 through 27 innings with the club, though his average 1.75 runs of support per start fed into an 0-3 record.