Still viewed as starter, but will pitch out of bullpen rest of season
BOSTON -- It's been a long and eventful year for Kevin Gausman, and the Orioles think he can still help down the stretch. Gausman, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft and the organization's No. 1 prospect, was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday and will pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the year.
The right-hander is 1-3 with a 6.21 ERA in nine appearances for Baltimore this season, and he's 3-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 16 appearances split between Double-A Bowie and Norfolk. The Orioles still view Gausman as a starter long-term, but manager Buck Showalter likes him out of the 'pen for now.
"Tonight we look at him as a reliever, but in the future, we still think he is going to be a good starter for us," said Showalter. "But you never know what path your career takes down the road."
Showalter referenced relievers Jim Johnson and Tommy Hunter as evidence that starters can be repurposed, and former first-round pick Brian Matusz also fits that bill. Having said that, though, Showalter said that it's still too early to know how Gausman will fit long-term.
Gausman, who is only 22, has made just 21 career appearances in the Minors. The Orioles have been aggressive in his development, and Showalter likes what he's seen so far.
"Kevin's the type of guy that's going to be fine in any role," Showalter said. "He's going to be a good pitcher up here. He just has too many weapons. His last three or four times out have gone really well. He's attacked the strike zone. I'll tell you, his slider has come a long way since Spring Training."
Gausman learned about his promotion Tuesday and didn't arrive in Boston until after midnight ET, but he said he's ready to take the ball whenever the team needs him. That could mean long relief or pitching the late innings, and Gausman said he's quickly made an adjustment to pitching out of the bullpen.
"I think the first time it was kind of different, because I'm so used to having so much time to get ready and warm up," Gausman said. "My first couple times out of the 'pen, I learned that I don't need that much time. I can be a reliever and I can pick the ball up and start throwing right away and be ready in a couple minutes. It's something that has been a little bit different, but I feel great about it."