The Orioles roster picture is a getting little clearer – sort of, anyway.
Amazingly, these Dan Duquette/Buck Showalter Orioles have not made a roster move through their first 14 games. That’s a longer span of roster inactivity than the Orioles endured all of last season.
But the changes are a-coming.
Kevin Gausman (shoulder tendinitis) allowed three runs on four hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings Wednesday while striking out nine for Triple-A Norfolk.
He’ll make his first major league start of the season Monday or Tuesday at the Tampa Bay Rays.
“He’s got a chance to pitch for us in his next outing,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ll see how it all fluctuates.”
On Saturday, lefty reliever Brian Matusz (intercostal strain) will be activated from the disabled list. Showalter said Matusz probably could join the active roster Friday in Kansas City, but the team likely will wait until Saturday.
That means two pitchers will have to be sent to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Gausman and Matusz.
Showalter wasn’t showing his hand, but the candidates to be sent down are pretty apparent: lefty T.J. McFarland and right-handers Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright and Mychal Givens. They all have minor league options remaining, and can be sent to Norfolk without being subjected to waivers.
Right-hander Vance Worley could also be a candidate to be moved off the roster, but he is without minor league options and the club is pretty convinced he’ll be claimed if he’s put on waivers. Worley is in the bullpen Thursday, but if he isn’t used, will start Saturday at Kansas City.
The best guess is that Matusz’s presence sends McFarland, another lefty, to the minors and Gausman bumps Worley out of the rotation, while Worley bumps another reliever, say Wilson, to the minors. In that scenario, Wilson, and maybe McFarland as well, pitch in the rotation at Norfolk. The same could be said for Wright if he struggles in his Sunday start at Kansas City.
Eventually, the Orioles will have to deal with an offensive logjam as well. Designated hitter Jimmy Paredes (left wrist) will leave extended spring in Sarasota on Sunday, take batting practice at Tropicana Field with the Orioles on Monday and then begin an injury rehab stint Tuesday at an Orioles’ minor league affiliate. Once that begins, Paredes will have to join the big league club in 20 days, unless he is re-injured.
That decision is a couple weeks away. The roster moves to watch will happen this weekend – incredibly, the first time this season the Orioles have altered their roster.