WASHINGTON -- The Kevin Gausman shuttle continued on Monday, as the right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a roster spot for reliever Julio DePaula and help aid an overworked Orioles bullpen for Monday's series opener against the Nationals.
"[Manager] Buck [Showalter] told me we needed a bullpen arm," said Gausman, who started Sunday's game and has been recalled and optioned back to the Minors three times over the past month despite pitching well. "It's just one of those things. It's happened a couple times this year and it's happened every time we go into extras, so I kind of saw it coming ... not really surprised. Obviously, I want to stay, but I understand we want to keep those guys healthy out there."
Gausman was added to the roster prior to Sunday's win over the Red Sox and went 5 1/3 innings. The righty, who held Boston to a run on four hits and a pair of walks, tallied a career-high seven strikeouts and has allowed one run or fewer in four of his past five big league starts. But the O's were forced to use six relievers in the 12-inning contest and Gausman was the logical choice given that the team is set to activate starter Bud Norris on Tuesday, giving them a fifth starter.
Showalter reminded reporters again Monday that there's an end goal with Gausman, and part of what they are doing, along with creating roster space, is to ensure the prized young righty isn't shut down early.
"This allows us, if and when he comes back, to use him the rest of the year according to how the opposition lets him go in the game," Showalter said of Gausman, who has thrown 78 2/3 innings between the Majors and Minors this year and finished last year at 129 2/3. "That, and we needed a relief pitcher."
Gausman has had an unusual few weeks, as he was added to the team's roster on June 27 as its 26th man, sent back to his optional assignment after the game and started for short-season Class A Aberdeen before returning to the Majors for Sunday's game at Fenway Park.
He is expected to make at least one start at Norfolk, and with the four days for next week's All-Star break, he could miss only one start while serving the minimum 10-day stay. In six starts for the O's, he is 3-2 with a 3.51 ERA, with wins over Oakland, Toronto and Tampa Bay.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.