BALTIMORE -- The Orioles optioned right-hander Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday, opting to keep Jake Arrieta to add some length to their bullpen on the night right-hander Miguel Gonzalez made his first start off the disabled list.
Manager Buck Showalter said he was trying to give lefty long man T.J. McFarland one more day off, and before sources indicated that the club is leaning toward starting No. 2 prospect Kevin Gausman at Toronto on Thursday, both Arrieta and McFarland were options to make that start, which would have been Jurrjens' turn.
Arrieta has been a starter all year -- for the Orioles and at Triple-A Norfolk -- although Showalter said he could throw between 75 and 90 pitches if the team chooses another starter on Thursday. Arrieta, who has had a nearly two-week layoff from pitching in a game, is 1-2 with a 7.31 ERA in three starts at Toronto, and the O's organization has been impressed with McFarland, a Rule 5 pick this past offseason. There has always been talk of giving a start to McFarland -- a starter his entire Minor League career -- and the rotation's recent struggles have made that more of a possibility.
As Showalter said, the deciding factor will be how the Orioles get through their games on Tuesday and Wednesday physically and whether one or both guys would be needed before Thursday's game. In Tuesday's win -- a 3-2 victory over the Yankees that took 10 innings -- Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson were the only relievers to pitch.
Jurrjens, who made just one start for the Orioles, on Saturday, politely declined to speak to the media, and his opt-out clause is dissolved given that he's on the 40-man roster. He will remain a starter at Norfolk and is eligible to be recalled after spending 10 days in the Minor Leagues, unless an injury scenario arises, in which case he could come up sooner.
"Some people didn't think he would get that [one start] this year," Showalter said of Jurrjens, who allowed four earned runs over five innings to Tampa Bay and has seen his career get derailed by a knee injury. "I think he knows he's shown ... our guys where we're going when there's a need. We hope not, but I'm sure there will be another need this year."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.