The Orioles placed Steve Pearce on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday to make room for starting pitcher Kevin Gausman in the second game of a three-game set against the New York Yankees.
Pearce is dealing with a left oblique strain and hadn’t played since Saturday’s win in Detroit. He will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam before rejoining the Orioles in St. Petersburg for their weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays. He would be eligible to be activated from the DL as early as Aug. 3.
Wanting the 24-year-old Gausman to receive regular work over the All-Star break, the Orioles optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Norfolk on July 7. He made two starts for the Tides, allowing two earned runs and nine hits while striking out 11 and walking four in 11 innings of work.
With the disappointing Bud Norris now in the bullpen, Gausman is expected to receive an extended opportunity in the Baltimore rotation to begin the second half.
The 32-year-old Pearce has been unable to duplicate the magic of his 2014 campaign in which he posted a .293 average with 21 home runs and a club-high .930 on-base plus slugging percentage. He has hit a disappointing .227 with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 193 plate appearances, but his numbers have remained solid against left-handed pitching with a .270 average and .747 OPS against southpaws.
Since June 1, Pearce is hitting .292 with a .779 OPS in 69 plate appearances.
Much speculation about the Orioles’ roster move to create space for Gausman centered around the struggling Chris Parmelee and the seldom-used Nolan Reimold, who are both out of minor-league options. Since homering three times in his first two games for the Orioles last month, Parmelee is hitting .192 with one homer and a .568 OPS in 81 plate appearances while serving as the primary first baseman against right-handed pitching.
Reimold is hitting just .235 with a .728 OPS in 57 plate appearances.
In other roster-related news, the Orioles officially released left-handed reliever Wesley Wright after he was designated for assignment last week.