8/15/2013 12:02 P.M. ET
Even in defeat, Norris helps tired O's bullpen
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- A day after Jim Johnson blew his Major League-leading ninth save of the season, Orioles manager Buck Showalter echoed his sentiment from the previous night, insisting that the 30-year-old will remain the club's closer.
Asked Wednesday if newly acquired righty Francisco Rodriguez could get an opportunity at the back end of the bullpen, Showalter said, "I don't foresee that." Rodriguez entered Wednesday having allowed just one hit over his last four outings after struggling in his first week with the club. In Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the D-backs, which took 14 innings, Rodriguez threw a scoreless eighth inning for his third hold since joining Baltimore.
Even before Wednesday's game, the past few days had been taxing for the O's bullpen as a unit. After working four innings in the series finale in San Francisco on Sunday, Baltimore relievers tossed 5 2/3 innings in the club's first two games in Arizona, both of which ended in walk-off home runs.
With the bullpen's heavy workload of late, the Orioles set up a flight for Wednesday just in case they wanted to call up an extra arm. Baltimore ultimately opted against that, and instead asked starting pitcher Bud Norris to skip his bullpen session in case the club needed to use him in emergency relief vs. the D-backs. Norris did appear in Wednesday's game, taking the loss upon allowing Arizona a run in the bottom of the 14th.
"Bud is available down there," Showalter said before the game. "You just can't pitch guys every night or five out of seven, you'll pay a price. Can't do it."
Showalter impressed with Urrutia's progress
PHOENIX -- Although Henry Urrutia's Major League career is still in its infancy -- he won't have a full month under his belt until Aug. 19 -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter has been impressed with the way the Cuban defector has handled his new surroundings and responsibilities so far.
"It's kind of tough on him right now, all the things that have been thrown at him like the new country, different leagues, new ballparks and new teammates, but I think he has handled it real well," Showalter said. "He's very personable, his English is better than you'd think it might be, he's sharp. He's very engaged; you can tell he likes what he's doing."
With the Orioles playing in National League parks over the last week, the designated hitter hasn't seen much action, only receiving six pinch-hit at-bats since Aug. 6. Still, Urrutia has shown Showalter glimpses of a potentially bright future with the 26-year-old collecting 14 hits in his first 48 at-bats.
"He's going to be a good one," Showalter said. "He keeps the bat in the zone a long time, those guys that carve the ball down the line; I'd rather see that than those guys that are in and out of the zone and roll over balls.
"He's been impressive, he cares. He's going to give himself a chance to be good."
• Baltimore sent rehabbing designated hitter Wilson Betemit to Double-A Bowie on Wednesday. Showalter said the club is playing him at whichever Minor League affiliate is home, that way he can DH.
• With the club playing a day game after a night game, O's catcher Matt Wieters was out of the lineup Wednesday. It's his third day off this month.
• Orioles Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver would have turned 83 on Wednesday. He passed away earlier this year on January 19.
• Discussing potential callups when the rosters expand in September, Showalter said there's a good chance Kevin Gausman will rejoin the Orioles.
"I'll step out on that limb," Showalter said.
Ranked by MLB.com as the club's No. 1 prospect, Gausman worked 33 1/3 innings for Baltimore earlier this season, compiling a 1-3 record with a 6.21 ERA.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.