5/24/2013 9:00 P.M. ET
Overworked bullpen may need extra arm
By Chris Toman / Special to MLB.com
TORONTO -- The Orioles' bullpen enters Friday's contest against the Blue Jays a little overworked, having thrown the fourth-most innings in the American League, which is one reason the club may be forced to make a move following the game depending on how much work the group logs.
Manager Buck Showalter said the club would "probably" make a move if he had to lean on his relievers Friday, and the club scratched right-hander Steve Johnson from his start at Triple-A Norfolk on Friday in the event it needed an extra arm for the weekend. Johnson has made one start in the Majors this season and four with the Tides, but he would be used as a reliever if he were summoned to the Orioles.
Who Baltimore would send down remains unclear, but the skipper said he's prepared to work with a shortened bench if it elected to option a position player to the Minor Leagues.
Baltimore's bullpen has scuffled recently, with closer Jim Johnson blowing three consecutive save opportunities from May 14-20, while three O's relievers surrendered eight runs in a 12-6 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday.
But while the crop of bullpen arms is struggling, especially compared to the phenomenal job it did last season, Showalter defended his group.
"It's very, very hard to do what these guys do," Showalter said. "You are just supposed to walk in and pitch good."
Showalter dismissed the notion that there is anything physically or mechanically wrong with a group that posted the second-best ERA in the AL last season at 2.94.
"Sometimes, it's as much mental as anything else," Showalter said.
Jones back in center after three straight starts at DH
TORONTO -- Adam Jones is back in center field for Friday's contest against the Blue Jays after starting three consecutive games at designated hitter due to a sore groin.
"I could have had him [in] last night," manager Buck Showalter said.
The Orioles, however, elected to play it safe with their star center fielder, and the turf at Rogers Centre was a factor in that decision. Showalter plans on having Jones play the remainder of the series in center, but he said the team will have to see how the 27-year-old responds following Friday's game.
Jones has been doing plenty of running exercises and was eager to get back out there.
"We tested everything possible," Showalter said. "This is the first day he has been happy with me in three or four [days]. We'll see if that continues."
Jones hit a home run as the DH in the series opener, and his six homers at Rogers Centre since the start of the 2012 season is more than any other visiting player.
Gausman looks toward next start vs. Washington
TORONTO -- After making his Major League debut on Thursday, right-hander Kevin Gausman returned to his locker and was greeted with a plethora of text messages from friends, family and former Minor League players who congratulated him on the honor. The whole moment was surreal -- he said his heart was pounding when he took the mound -- but he calmed himself down after punching out Adam Lind on a changeup to end the first inning, one of the best pitches he thought he threw all night.
But on Friday, Gausman was ready to get to work and is looking ahead to his next start, which will come against the Nationals on Tuesday. He believes he will be more prepared for Washington by having some extra days to study the club on film, compared to what he had with Toronto, which was only one day before his start.
Watching video and coming up with a gameplan on how to attack each specific hitter is new territory for him. He said that in the Minor Leagues, there is no such thing as studying video.
"I feel great going forward. I feel like my stuff played here at this level," the 22-year-old Gausman said. "I'll be using all the video that all the other guys use."
Making the jump to the Majors one year after being selected as the fourth overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft is something Gausman said he couldn't have imagined. He believed he was fairly polished coming out of Louisiana State University, but said he had to make more adjustments than ever during his first crack at professional baseball last year.
One of the things he switched was his arsenal, thanks to the advice of Orioles director of pitching development Rick Peterson. At LSU, Gausman threw both a slider and curveball, but Peterson advised him to stick with one breaking ball. So Gausman ditched his curveball, and believes that expedited his development by not having to worry about polishing a number of different offerings.
Gausman, who surrendered four runs over five innings in his debut, realized quickly that he is not able to get away with mistakes in the Majors like he could in the lower levels.
"There is a big difference between Double-A and the big leagues with how smart hitters are," Gausman said.
Gausman's slider is one thing he has identified as something to work on. He didn't go to it too much against Toronto, relying instead on his fastball-changeup combination. His heater reached as high as 99 mph, which is the same speed his favorite pitchers -- Matt Harvey and Justin Verlander -- can reach.
"I'm just trying to get better every time I go out there. I feel good, I feel healthy and everything is coming out of my hand really well," Gausman said.
• Jake Arrieta, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday to make room for Kevin Gausman, will pitch for the Tides on Sunday, splitting innings with left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada.
• Orioles top prospect Dylan Bundy was tested on Friday and had full range of motion in his arm without pain. He has yet to throw an inning this year.
• Taylor Teagarden (thumb) took batting practice and caught some side sessions on Friday, and he will likely take batting practice on Monday.
Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.