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Pipeline Preview: Orioles' Gausman set to make return

Norfolk righty will face Pirates' top prospect Polanco in first start since falling ill

Two weeks after his last start, right-hander Kevin Gausman is expected to be activated from the disabled list Saturday and start for Triple-A Norfolk at Indianapolis.

Gausman, the Orioles' No. 2 prospect and No. 29 overall, was placed on the DL last week. The club originally thought he was suffering from a left intercostal muscle strain, but an MRI revealed his pain was being caused by pneumonia.

Now that he's recovered from the illness, Gausman will make his first start since April 26 when the Tides face the Indians at 7:05 p.m. ET, in a game that can be seen on MiLB.TV. In five starts this season, he has a 2.53 ERA and has struck out 20 batters in 21 1/3 innings. Gausman has been limited to 75 pitches per start in an effort to keep his innings down and allow him to contribute in the Major Leagues later this year.

Gausman and Norfolk will face one of the best hitters in the Minor Leagues on Saturday. Outfielder Gregory Polanco, the Pirates' No. 1 prospect and No. 12 overall, is hitting .374/.434/.580 this season. Even after going 0-for-5 on Friday, he still leads the International League in batting average, on-base percentage, OPS (1.015), hits (49) and RBI (28).

In addition to Gausman, several other pitchers ranked in the Top 100 are scheduled to start Saturday, including Noah Syndergaard (No. 10), Jon Gray (No. 13), Tyler Glasnow (No. 25), Alex Meyer (No. 26), Lucas Giolito (No. 40), Julio Urias (No. 58), Braden Shipley (No. 71) and Nick Kingham (No. 96). Fans can watch Syndergaard, Gray, Meyer and Kingham on MiLB.TV.

Kingham and Double-A Altoona will face Akron at 6:35 p.m., one night after a benches-clearing incident between the two teams. In the seventh inning Friday, the RubberDucks took exception to a few up-and-in pitches to shortstop Francisco Lindor, the Indians' Indians' No. 1 prospect and No. 9 overall, and both teams spilled onto the field for a squabble. No ejections were issued and Akron went on to an 8-4 victory.

Top prospect probables

Ty Blach (Giants' No. 6), Richmond vs. Erie
Paul Blackburn (Cubs' No. 14), Kane County at Burlington
Jamie Callahan (Red Sox's No. 18), Greeneville vs. West Virginia
Alex Colome (Rays' No. 5), Charlotte at Bradenton
Daniel Corcino (Reds' No. 11), Pensacola at Birmingham
Dylan Covey (A's No. 13), Beloit at Quad Cities
Ryan Eades (Twins' No. 20), Cedar Rapids at Wisconsin
Gausman (Orioles' No. 2), Norfolk at Indianapolis
Glasnow (Pirates' No. 3), Bradenton vs. Charlotte
Giolito (Nationals' No. 1), Hagerstown vs. Kannapolis
Gray (Rockies' No. 1), Tulsa at Arkansas
J.R. Graham (Braves' No. 6), Mississippi vs. Montgomery
Mike Kickham (Giants' No. 17), Fresno at Reno
Kingham (Pirates' No. 8), Altoona at Akron
Meyer (Twins' No. 3), Rochester at Toledo
Francellis Montas (White Sox No. 17), Winston-Salem at Frederick
Daniel Norris (Blue Jays' No. 4), Dunedin at Clearwater
Anthony Ranaudo (Red Sox's No. 8), Pawtucket at Louisville
Tom Robson (Blue Jays' No. 14), Lansing at West Michigan
Joe Ross (Padres' No. 9), Lake Elsinore vs. Rancho Cucamonga
Shipley (D-backs' No. 2), South Bend vs. Great Lakes
Blake Snell (Rays' No. 9), Bowling Green at Lake County
Syndergaard (Mets' No. 1), Las Vegas vs. Tacoma
Ian Thomas (Braves' No. 12), Gwinnett at Lehigh Valley
Andrew Thurman (Astros' No. 16), Quad Cities vs. Beloit
Nick Travieso (Reds' No. 8), Dayton vs. Fort Wayne
Jose Urena (Marlins' No. 8), Jacksonville vs. Mobile
Urias (Dodgers' No. 3), Rancho Cucamonga at Lake Elsinore

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill.