Orioles move struggling Bud Norris to the bullpen

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Orioles right-hander Bud Norris has pitched almost exclusively as a starter in the majors, but his season-long struggles have him headed to the bullpen.

According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Orioles manager Buck Showalter made it official today that Kevin Gausman will start Tuesday against the Twins. This pushes Norris into a long relief role.

Norris had a 3.65 ERA in 28 starts last season and made two starts during the postseason, but he has struggled to the tune of a 6.79 ERA over 11 starts this season. His strikeouts (6.3 K/9) are down and his walks (3.1 BB/9) are up, but the big issue has been the home run ball, as he has already allowed 11 of them in just 55 2/3 innings. The Orioles have eyes on another postseason berth, so they couldn’t afford to keep him in the rotation any longer.

White Sox, Rockies, “frontrunners” for Yasiel Puig

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Yasiel Puig, unexpectedly, remained unemployed for the entire offseason. But now, a week or so into spring training, it’s appearing as though he may soon have a job. That’s the word from Hector Gomez of Z101, who reports that the Rockies and White Sox have emerged as “frontrunners” to sign the guy.

Puig hit a .252/.302/.475 (92 OPS+) for the Reds before being traded to the Indians. Once in Cleveland his performance improved, however, as he hit .297/.377/.423 (109 OPS+). Definitely a down year overall, and a far cry from the sort of superstar performance he showcased when he first broke into the league, but he’s just 29 and still profiles as an above average big league outfielder, on defense and at the plate.

He’d certainly benefit from playing in the thin air of Colorado. He’d also look pretty spiffy in the White Sox’ lineup, though he’d likely have to assume a platoon role there. Which, given that he as better in that role toward the end of his tenure in Los Angeles, would not be the worst idea. He didn’t like it all that much, but at the moment, he needs to find a job.

Anyway, look for Puig to be off the market soon.