BALTIMORE -- Matt Wieters' season is over, but he was back at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday for the first time since having Tommy John surgery in June.
The catcher's return invoked in Buck Showalter the memory of another baseball man who frequently made his return to a familiar clubhouse.
"You always knew when Billy Martin was getting ready to come back to the Yankees, they always said he was tanned and rested," the O's manager said. "I don't know about tanned, but Matt looks great. He's really upbeat about where he is. I think he's excited to be back here. About as excited as we are to have him back here."
Wieters won't be in Baltimore for long -- he's heading to Minneapolis for the All-Star break -- but he expects to be back for a handful of homestands during the remainder of the season.
He wasn't in the clubhouse during its open period to the media before Thursday's series finale against the Nationals, but Showalter said Wieters has been watching games as he recovers at his home in Atlanta.
And that's where Wieters will head back after the All-Star break. The Orioles head out west for more than a week after the break and Wieters' rehab will resume. While he's in Baltimore, though, he serves as a reminder for some positives and negatives for the O's.
The negative is obvious.
"It's just an unfortunate reminder of him not being here," Showalter said. "Not that we've forgotten about him."
But there's still a positive. Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley haven't been Wieters -- they were never expected to be -- but they have been admirable replacements behind the plate.
Joseph has batted .232 during the past month and leads the Majors with a 52 caught-stealing percentage. Hundley, the better offensive catcher of the two, is batting .242.
With Steve Clevenger and Michael Ohlman also available on the 40-man roster, the Orioles have made due even without their All-Star backstop.
"We went from having some real challenges with that to being four deep," Showalter said. "We went from a challenge to potentially a real strength in our organization with Matt being the lead dog."
Bundy pitches into fourth inning in rehab start
BALTIMORE -- Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy, who will likely be limited to 75 pitches in every outing this year, exited Thursday's start for Class A Frederick in the fourth inning after starting the frame at 64 pitches.
Bundy, who allowed a pair of singles in the inning before he was replaced, was charged with three runs against the Salem Red Sox. Making his fifth start and fourth with Frederick, Bundy had a 1-2-3 first inning that consisted of 15 pitches.
The 21-year-old issued a pair of walks to start the second inning and allowed RBI singles to Kendrick Perkins and Jordan Weems after that. Bundy then worked around a one-out double in the third inning.
The Orioles' top pitching prospect, Bundy is recovering from Tommy John surgery and it's unlikely -- given his pitch constraints -- to be a factor for the big league club this season.
Norris sent to Double-A to pitch during break
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles optioned right-hander Bud Norris to Double-A Bowie prior to Thursday's game, a roster move that allows the right-hander to get some extra work in the Minors during the All-Star break.
"Bud had, what, 17 days [between starts]? Having another 11, 12 or 13 before his next start is something we'd like to stay away from," manager Buck Showalter said of Norris, who returned from the disabled list Wednesday for a start against the Nats. "He's already had his All-Star break."
With the extra roster spot, the Orioles recalled right-hander Preston Guilmet from Triple-A Norfolk to add to the bullpen. Guilmet, 26, has posted a 5.79 ERA in nine games with the Orioles earlier this season, striking out 11 and walking two.
Norris' 10-day stay in the Minor Leagues means he could be activated to start at the end of the Oakland series, although given his career numbers -- 0-2 with a 9.35 ERA in four games -- the Orioles will likely wait until the following series in Anaheim. Norris is 3-0 with an 0.32 ERA in four career games against the Angels.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.