Just over three weeks ago, the Orioles promoted big-time pitching prospect Kevin Gausman to the majors with much fanfare. And now, after just five starts, he's headed down to Triple-A. The club announced he had been optioned after the Orioles' extra-inning win over the Red Sox Thursday night.
The move is not, however, performance-based, according to the Baltimore Sun:
The Orioles needed another arm in the bullpen after Thursday's 13-inning, 5-4 win. They used six relievers – and three threw more than one inning.
Gausman has options, and most of the relief corps doesn't (only Brian Matusz and Darren O'Day could be sent to the minors without passing through waivers).
Gausman could be back in 10 days -- or sooner if there is an injury. But for now he is going to Triple-A, where he has never pitched before.
Gausman, 22, is 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 24 2/3 innings over the course of his five starts, but his two best outings came in his last three starts.
On June 2, Gausman worked six innings and only allowed one run while striking out four and walking zero against the Tigers. And then Thursday, Gausman allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts and zero walks in 5 1/3 innings against the Red Sox.
It's possible some slight seasoning in Triple-A will help, as Gausman had a 3.11 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 46 1/3 innings in Double-A before his promotion.
For now, it's unclear what the Orioles will do with Gausman's spot in the rotation. Jason Hammel, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez and Freddy Garcia remain in the rotation and Wei-Yin Chen is nearing a minor-league rehab stint before he can return.