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Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Rodriguez to start tonight as minor league games begin

Two of the Orioles' top three pitching prospects in action as four full-season affiliates play first games

By Dean Jones Jr.

The Baltimore Sun

12:44 PM EDT, April 3, 2014

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UPDATE (5:15 p.m. Thursday): Kevin Gausman was scratched from his start for Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday in case the Orioles need him for a potential doubleheader in Detroit this weekend. Right-hander Eddie Gamboa will start in his place.

ORIGINAL POST

Two of the Orioles' top three pitching prospects will make their 2014 season debut tonight as the organization's four full-season minor league affiliates play their first games.

Right-hander Kevin Gausman -- the second-best prospect in the organization, according to Baseball America -- will start for Triple-A Norfolk in the 7:05 p.m. game at Harbor Park against Charlotte, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez -- No. 3 on Baseball America's list of top Orioles prospects -- will pitch for Double-A Bowie in the 6:35 p.m. game at Prince George's Stadium against Harrisburg, an affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Gausman, the club's first-round pick in 2012, made four appearances (two starts) for the Orioles in major league spring training this year. He was 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA (three runs) and gave up seven hits in 11 innings while striking out 13 batters.

Gausman was 3-5 with a 5.66 ERA in 20 games (five starts) in the major leagues last season, and he also spent time with Norfolk after beginning the year at Bowie.

Rodriguez, signed by the Orioles as an international free agent in 2010, was 0-1 with a 12.00 ERA (eight runs) in three appearances for the club in spring training this year. He allowed 12 hits and walked two batters while striking out six in six innings.

Rodriguez was 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 25 starts between High-A Frederick and Bowie last year.

Frederick and Low-A Delmarva also open the season tonight. Both teams play on the road. Frederick travels to play at Lynchburg, an Atlanta Braves affiliate, in a 6:05 p.m. game, while Delmarva faces Asheville, a Colorado Rockies affiliate, at 7:05 p.m.

Right-hander Branden Kline, the Orioles' second-round pick in the 2012 draft, will start for Frederick. Limited to seven starts at Delmarva last season because of a leg injury, he was 1-2 with a 5.86 ERA.

Left-hander Steven Brault, the club's 11th-round selection last year, will start for Delmarva. He pitched at short-season Single-A Aberdeen in 2013, finishing with a 1-2 record and 2.09 ERA in 12 starts.

In addition to Gausman and Rodriguez, here is where the Orioles' top 10 prospects -- according to Baseball America -- will start the 2014 season.

1. Dylan Bundy -- extended spring training (Tommy John surgery rehab)

2. Gausman -- Norfolk

3. Rodriguez -- Bowie

4. Hunter Harvey -- Delmarva

5. Jonathan Schoop -- Orioles

6. Tim Berry -- Bowie

7. Henry Urrutia -- Norfolk

8. Mike Wright -- Norfolk

9. Michael Ohlman -- Bowie

10. Chance Sisco -- Delmarva