After he was scratched Wednesday from his scheduled start Friday, Orioles right-hander Bud Norris will undergo an MRI for his right groin injury during Thursday’s day off.
Norris threw a bullpen session before Wednesday night's game to test the groin, which forced him from Saturday’s start against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
After the session, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that Norris would not start in the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays and likely would have another work day before making his next start.
Right-hander Chris Tillman will start in Norris' place Friday.
If Norris needs to go on the 15-day disabled list, the move would be retroactive to Sunday, but he wouldn’t be eligible to return until July 7.
Because of Thursday’s day off, the Orioles’ rotation can stay in turn and work on regular rest until Tuesday against the Texas Rangers, when the club would need another starter if Norris can’t start before then.
In that case, the Orioles could call up right-hander Kevin Gausman, who will start Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader and then return to Triple-A Norfolk, to pitch Tuesday on short rest. Depending on how the bullpen is used over the next few days, the club could also start left-hander T.J. McFarland.
The club’s options at Norfolk are limited, which is why the Orioles recently signed veteran left-hander Randy Wolf, who last pitched June 14 for the Miami Marlins.
Showalter said he believes the club’s bullpen will be OK after accounting for 5 2/3 innings among six different relievers in the Orioles’ 5-4 win in 12 innings.
"With the off day tomorrow, I think we're going to be OK,” Showalter said. “We were just starting to talk about it, but I wanted to shorten up [Ryan] Webb. Darren [O’Day] had to pitch tonight. He had four days off. I was going to send Zach [Britton] back out there for the first three hitters the second inning, but the rain delay made it not very smart. And [we] shortened up [Brad] Brach, so we've got everybody available on Friday, so I don't think we will."
Tillman raves about starting rotation
Tillman has played in the major leagues for at least parts of the last six seasons, so he believes he knows a good pitching staff when he sees it.
This year’s Orioles, he said Wednesday, are an elite group.
Heading into Wednesday’s game, the club hadn’t surrendered more than five runs in a game since June 8, an 11-1 loss to the Athletics. From June 9 through Tuesday, the Orioles have allowed only 2.53 runs per game.
“I know what we’re capable of,” Tillman said. “It was only a matter of time before it was going to show up. I know what it takes to turn your stuff around.”
Though he admits to not knowing Gausman as well because of his short tenure with the Orioles, Tillman predicts continued success for the right-hander. The rookie has spent significant time in the minor leagues this year, but he has a 0.95 ERA in his last three starts with the Orioles.
“He’s got the best stuff in the world. Everyone knows that,” Tillman said of Gausman. “He’s learned how to pitch instead of just throw. I went through that, too. He’s impressive.”
Around the horn
Machado will host a charity bowling event Thursday, with all proceeds benefiting the Baltimore City Foundation. The event also will involve a silent auction of autographed sports memorabilia and other items. … Left-hander T.J. McFarland’s 0.61 ERA in seven June appearances heading into Wednesday’s game ranks fourth in the majors for qualified pitchers (minimum 10 innings pitched). … Since May 1, Steve Pearce ranks in the top 10 in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage heading into Wednesday. … The Orioles announced Wednesday that they have signed two more draft picks — left-hander Matt Trowbridge (13th round) and right-hander Jean Cosme (17th).
Baltimore Sun reporter Alejandro Zuniga contributed to this article.