BALTIMORE — Houston Astros pitcher Bud Norris was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night amid speculation he could be traded before the non-waiver deadline.
“They scratched me for a lot of reasons,” Norris said. “It’s a little unfortunate. I wanted to go out there and pitch, but I understand there’s a lot of stuff swirling around me.”
Lucas Harrell replaced Norris, a former Cal Poly star, as Houston’s starting pitcher against the Baltimore Orioles.
“It’s one of those things, from an organizational standpoint, you have a guy that has attracted a lot of interest from other ballclubs, and you look at the trading deadline looming,” manager Bo Porter said. “It just made more sense to not risk injury at this juncture of the conversation, because the conversations have gotten a little deeper.”
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With today’s 1 p.m. deadline drawing closer, it was possible Norris had pitched his last game for Houston.
“I don’t know. I don’t want to put any numbers on it,” Norris said. “Everybody’s speculating, and where I could go, stuff like that. But it’s really out of my hands. It’s for the GMs and the front offices to decide. I just want to play baseball, for wherever I am. And right now I’m still an Astro, and that’s where my focus is.”
And if he isn’t dealt?
“If he doesn’t get traded, yes, he’s available to pitch (today) because the trading deadline would have passed by 7 o’clock (EDT today),” Porter said.
Norris is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 21 starts with Houston. His six wins are tops on the club, and his $3 million salary is the highest on the rebuilding
Astros, a Major League-worst 35-70 after Tuesday’s loss to Baltimore.
“I guess I was a little surprised by it, but I understand the reason behind it,” Norris said. “I’ve been talking to my agent about it, and he understands why as well. So you have to go with it. There’s nothing I can do. I can’t complain about it.”
Norris, who started opening day for the Astros, is one of the team’s biggest stars. That’s why he’s the topic of trade talk around the league.
“It’s a credit to Bud Norris,” Porter said. “When multiple teams are after your services, it speaks volumes to what it is you’ve done in the game of baseball and what other people think about you.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter originally planned to start eight left-handed batters against Norris. Left-handers are batting .306 against Norris this season.
Instead, Showalter shuffled his lineup for Harrell.
“Harrell’s pretty good. He’s been starting for them all year,” Showalter said. “Does it make (Norris) more valuable by pulling him out, knowing you can start him the day you get him?
“Are you getting better players back because he’s ready to pitch right then? I don’t know. That’s their business.”