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Harvey optioned to Double-A Bowie

Orioles' No. 4 prospect fared well in three Spring Training starts
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles optioned top pitching prospect Hunter Harvey to Double-A Bowie prior to Wednesday night's game against the Yankees in Tampa.

Harvey was the second pitcher to leave O's camp on Wednesday, with the club also designating for assignment Rule 5 pick Jose Mesa Jr. to clear a roster spot for Alex Cobb.

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles optioned top pitching prospect Hunter Harvey to Double-A Bowie prior to Wednesday night's game against the Yankees in Tampa.

Harvey was the second pitcher to leave O's camp on Wednesday, with the club also designating for assignment Rule 5 pick Jose Mesa Jr. to clear a roster spot for Alex Cobb.

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Was Harvey, who was slated to start Wednesday's Grapefruit League contest, also tied to Cobb?

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"It was tied somewhat," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who started Miguel Castro against the Yankees instead. "[Harvey] needs to get going. He's going to be in Bowie to start the year.

"We talked a lot in our meeting today upstairs about how we are going to use Hunter and what have you, the innings, see where the season takes him. He's available down the road."

Harvey was never expected to break camp with the O's, though the young right-hander did stick around for a long time as there were innings available. And he made quite an impression in three starts, pitching to a 3.86 ERA in seven innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits and four walks with seven strikeouts.

Video: Top Prospects: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Orioles

Harvey, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Orioles' No. 4 prospect, is the son of former big leaguer Brian Harvey. Now on the club's 40-man roster, he could be in Baltimore's plans later this season.

"We knew at some point that [Harvey needing Tommy John surgery] would be the case. Now we got all that behind him," Showalter said. "He's in a real good place, he was impressive this spring. The pitch mix, everybody loves his makeup. This guy has got a different look and a different feel when he gets between the lines. He's not intimidated. He's got a chance to be pretty good."

Camp battle
The Orioles will break camp with five starting pitchers, none of whom will be Cobb. That means the fifth-starter job is still very much up for grabs this spring, with Cobb expected to make at least one Minor League start to get stretched out.

To that end, two candidates -- Castro and Nestor Cortes Jr. -- tried to state their cases in Wednesday's 9-4 loss to the Yankees.

Castro started and went three innings, though he struggled to locate against a lineup of Yankees regulars. The righty surrendered five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks to raise his spring ERA to 8.38.

"[Command has] been a challenge on and off for him, like a lot of guys," Showalter said of Castro. "A lot of guys you will see in a little more of a comfort zone once they get settled in to where they need to be. There's a lot of anxiety this time of year. I try to keep that in mind."

Castro, who could be a bullpen guy if he doesn't get a chance as the fifth starter to break camp, said he's not letting the addition of Cobb change his approach.

"My mindset is still the same -- go out there and compete, try to help my team," he said. "Whatever the team decides for me, I'll be happy for it."

Cortes entered in the fifth inning and had a smoother outing, tossing three scoreless innings before Aaron Judge went deep for a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

The O's Rule 5 Draft pick -- facing the team that originally drafted him -- went four innings and allowed four hits, walking two and striking out three.

"He's capable, but the sequence has to be good," Showalter said of the crafty Cortes, whose fastball is in the 80s. "[He] has to keep all the pitches in play in the hitter's mind. When he does, he can have some success."

Up next
Rotation hopeful Mike Wright Jr. will take the mound on Thursday as the Orioles host the Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. ET. The contest can be seen live on MLB.TV. Hector Velazquez is scheduled to start for Boston.

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, Hunter Harvey