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Gausman embraces leadership role for O's

Young pitchers battling for spots look to veteran for guidance
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Kevin Gausman is one of the veteran leaders in the Orioles' clubhouse. In the rotation, he's the elder statesman. And that's a little weird for the 27-year old, who agreed to terms on a one-year deal on Tuesday.

"I used to be the one asking everyone where I was going. Now, they are asking me," Gausman said.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Kevin Gausman is one of the veteran leaders in the Orioles' clubhouse. In the rotation, he's the elder statesman. And that's a little weird for the 27-year old, who agreed to terms on a one-year deal on Tuesday.

"I used to be the one asking everyone where I was going. Now, they are asking me," Gausman said.

"It's definitely a little weird and kind of different. If we don't sign anybody to the rotation, I'll be the longest-tenured pitcher on our team. So that's kind of weird to think about, because I really haven't been around very long. But I'm excited about that. It's a new step, something I've always done on every team I've been on. But when you're 22, and get to the big leagues, you are not going to be that guy. Not yet. I'm looking forward to [taking more of a leader role]."

Gausman, who was the last remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible player, had a flight to Phoenix ready for Wednesday's hearing. But the two sides were able to come to an agreement, and avoid an often contentious scenario, giving the Orioles all seven of their arbitration-eligibles officially under contract for the season.

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With his contract now squared away, Gausman will be able to focus on a camp that has 35 pitchers and three open rotation spots. Outside of himself and Dylan Bundy, the O's starting rotation is up in the air with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette actively trying to add before March 1.

"I wouldn't necessarily say if I'm surprised [the team hasn't added to the rotation], but I think everybody's surprised by the [free agent] market right now," Gausman said.

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"I feel bad for the guys who are trying to get Minor League deals, and guys who are right there on the cusp, because they're just waiting. They're waiting for other guys. First day of pitchers and catchers is tomorrow.

"You think about how many guys are still at home [and it] is pretty crazy, but I think we're kind of surrounded by a lot of young guys right now. It's pretty exciting. I've been here for the last couple of days, and got to see some of these guys throw, and the ball's coming out really good. I'm excited about [Jimmy] Yacabonis and [Stefan] Crichton, and all these young guys who have really good arms, and just need a little more seasoning."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Kevin Gausman