8/20/2013 8:15 P.M. ET
Six-man rotation a possibility for Orioles
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Top pitching prospect Kevin Gausman picked up his first win in Triple-A on Monday night after throwing five scoreless innings and is expected to be a September callup, most likely to work out of the bullpen.
But manager Buck Showalter hasn't closed the door on Gausman being a rotation option for his club, which has just one off-day in September. Could the O's go with a six-man rotation?
"You could do more than that if you wanted to [because of expanded rosters and the team's pitching depth]," Showalter said. "See how everybody's pitching, how everybody feels physically. It's a moving target. See what the needs are physically and who we think presents the best option.
"We'll do some things matchup-wise. Some of the things we've done this month with the off-days were kind of trying to match up and, for the most part, helped us a little bit. But the pitching hasn't been the issue in some cases."
With five off-days in August, the Orioles have been able to put starters in the bullpen in emergency situations, avoiding roster moves and allowing for some roster flexibility. But with a packed September and the O's hoping to play beyond that, having other rotation options, such as Gausman and Jason Hammel -- who is on the disabled list -- could help spell some of the club's starters.
"It could happen," Showalter said of a six-man rotation. "Could [give] a guy five days between when he's pitching without an off-day."
Rodriguez prepared to pitch through pain
BALTIMORE -- Veteran reliever Francisco Rodriguez has no intention of going on the disabled list, and he will continue to manage his strained right groin and remain an option for the Orioles going forward.
Rodriguez exited Friday's game with the injury -- though he later said the issue had been bothering him for about a week before then -- and told manager Buck Showalter the following day that he could go two innings if needed. Still, Showalter gave him two days off.
Rodriguez pitched an inning in Monday's 4-3 loss.
"I felt it when I started warming up," said Rodriguez, who loaded the bases in the eighth inning but got a key double play from first baseman Chris Davis. "Warming up, and [during] the first batter, it was definitely [there], but the second batter I just put that aside, don't worry about anything. I just didn't feel anything [after that]. But when my body cools off, I definitely do [feel pain]."
Rodriguez, acquired in a trade with Milwaukee last month, is a 12-year veteran, and he's well aware of the daily rigors of a 162-game regular season, particularly when a club is in a postseason race, as the Orioles are.
"That's something that, yeah, I really had to learn, whether it's soreness, pain or injury," he said of being able to avoid the DL and help his team. "It's just pain [with the strained groin]. I don't think it's an injury. Every ballplayer over the course of the season will go through that. It happened to me, got to fight through it. I'll be all right."
Rodriguez, who had five scoreless appearances during the team's West Coast trip, is 1-0 with a 4.22 ERA in 11 games for the Orioles. Over 10 2/3 innings, he has allowed five earned runs on 11 hits, with three walks and 16 strikeouts.
• The Orioles and Rays are the only teams in the American League that have not made three errors in a game this year. Baltimore entered Tuesday's game with a Major League-best .992 fielding percentage.
• Pitchers Brian Matusz and T.J. McFarland signed autographs and played games with critically ill children from the Casey Cares Foundation on Tuesday afternoon. The event took place at Extra Innings, an indoor baseball facility that donated the space. The Caring Connections party is one six programs run by the Casey Cares Foundation, which provides uplifting programs for critically ill children and their families.
• The Orioles left a season-high 15 men on base in Monday's loss, but Showalter is not going to ask his club to change their approach.
"There's never been a perfect player," he said. "That's why there are, every once in a while, some outs made in the game. And every once in a while, somebody does strike somebody out. Otherwise we'd be here forever. That's why I have empathy, not sympathy, with how hard the game is to play. The same thing you love guys for is the same things ... They are not robots. They are not some computer-driven cyborg. They are human beings. This is hard. This is hard to do. But at the same time, I see their frustration. It only compounds it if I, and we as a staff, and teammates compound it."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.