TORONTO -- A day removed from his first Major League start this season, Kevin Gausman was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Sunday's game so he can stay on a consistent schedule and get his innings up.
"We got good reports on Miguel [Gonzalez] and Wei-Yin [Chen], we don't want to put Gausman in the bullpen," manager Buck Showalter said of the reason for sending Gausman down. "We think he has a chance to be in our rotation -- next year, possibly this year -- who knows? We don't want next year to get here and him not have enough innings under his belt to pitch next season. ... There's no reason to keep him here when he's not going to start here and [not] keep another arm that's fresh in the bullpen."
The move, which saw Oliver Drake added in Gausman's place, means that Gonzalez and Chen are in line for Thursday and Friday's starts. It should also help Gausman, who has pitched just 12 Major League innings this season, build back up.
"It's tough, but he gets it," Showalter said of Gausman's shuttle back to Norfolk. "He's very mature, a professional. He's got a chance to be pretty good, because he looks through things with professional, big league eyes. He doesn't just get down there and throw up stats, he's trying to do things that will help him at the big league level. No one asks better questions than him. He's a watcher of the game, taking things in. I don't think he's going to miss an opportunity, and it will be there for him shortly.
I don't want the season over and him to have 80, 90 innings and expect him to throw 180, 200 innings next year. That's not smart. [We've] got to keep the end game in mind. If we bring him back here, it will be as a starter, initially."
A part of the Opening Day bullpen, Gausman hit the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis and was stretched back out on a rehab assignment. He pitched five innings in a no-decision in the O's 5-3 win on Saturday.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.