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Hobgood could make pro debut Saturday

1st-round pick would pitch 1 or 2 innings at Bluefield

By Dean Jones Jr.

dean.jones@baltsun.com

July 17, 2009

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Orioles first-round draft pick Matt Hobgood will pitch one or two innings in his professional debut, which is expected to take place Saturday night when Rookie-level Bluefield hosts Johnson City at Bowen Field.

Orioles director of player development David Stockstill stopped short of confirming the appearance, saying it depends on how Hobgood feels after he returns to Bluefield from Los Angeles, where he attended the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Awards on Wednesday night.

"You never know about plane flights and all of those things, so we just have to wait and see when he actually gets back to Bluefield and see how he feels and all of that," Stockstill said. "There's nothing set in stone until he gets back and we evaluate where he's at."

The 18-year-old right-hander, who previously earned Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year honors, was a finalist for the top prep male award after going 11-1 with a 0.92 ERA at Norco (Calif.) High in his senior year. Hobgood had 101 strikeouts and issued 26 walks in 68 1/3 innings.

Hobgood also excelled as a hitter in high school, batting .475 with 21 home runs, but Stockstill said the Orioles don't foresee him swinging the bat in the minor leagues.

"At this point, we don't have any plans to play him anywhere else but pitcher," Stockstill said.

The Orioles plan to evaluate Hobgood in game action for Bluefield before determining whether the 6-foot-4, 245-pound pitcher will earn a promotion this season.

"It's way too early to tell about anything like that," Stockstill said. "Right now, all we're going to do is just get him pitching in games, get him built up slowly and see how he adjusts to professional baseball."

Perez likely out for year
Double-A Bowie Baysox reliever Wilfrido Perez, who has been on the disabled list since July 5 with an elbow injury, will undergo surgery and is not expected to pitch again this season, according to Stockstill.

The 24-year-old left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA and seven saves in 24 appearances for the Baysox this season. Opponents are batting .136 against Perez, who has 29 strikeouts and 22 walks in 26 1/3 innings.

Perez was also on the DL from June 5 to June 23.

Also ailing
The chances of Triple-A Norfolk Tides third baseman Scott Moore's returning from a thumb injury this season are "extremely slight," according to Stockstill. ... Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds outfielder Steve Bumbry (Dulaney) is day-to-day with a hamstring injury and "could be [returning] in the next couple days," Stockstill said. ... Right-hander Chorye Spoone (Northeast, CCBC-Catonsville), who has a torn labrum, and left-hander Tony Butler, who has a shoulder injury, are participating in a throwing program in Florida and will likely join a minor league affiliate in the next few weeks.