The Orioles optioned right-hander Miguel Gonzalez to Triple-A Norfolk before Saturday’s game in order to make room on the 25-man roster for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list to start Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The move will force Gonzalez to miss at least one start but allows manager Buck Showalter to protect the club’s flourishing bullpen.

Gonzalez's relegation was by no means a permanent demotion, but because he pitched two days ago, he would able to fulfill the mandatory 10-day minor league window and miss just one start. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Gonzalez is slated to start for Norfolk either Tuesday or Wednesday against Buffalo and could return when he’s eligible to be recalled on Aug. 19.

The decision to send Gonzalez – who has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts over the past two months – was a difficult one.

“There's no right decision,” Showalter said. “If Miguel had been three or four days from pitching, we probably would have kept him. … Let's face it - if he didn't have an option, it wouldn't even have been a conversation. It wasn't a good reason, it was just an honest reason. It's tough, emotional for me. Sometimes you've got to do what's right for the club. This guy has been solid for us for 2 1-2 years and will be again. He's one of the reasons we are where we are right now. He'll be back.”

Orioles could have sent down a reliever and used one of their starters out of the bullpen, but the club wanted to keep the starters' regular routine.