SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman struggled with his command in his first spring start Thursday against the Rays, but the right-hander was pleased with his secondary pitches – his changeup and slider.
Gausman walked the first two batters he faced, but he mixed his pitches well and didnt allow a run until Evan Longoria's RBI double on the final batter he faced with two outs in the third inning. Another run was charged to Gausman when Mike Belfiore gave up Luke Scott's two-run homer.
Gausman, who was routinely hitting 97 mph in his previous outing, sat at 91-92 Thursday and hit 96 once.
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Here’s what Gausman, the Orioles’ No. 2 pitching prospect told reporters after his outing:
On his outing:
“I felt good. I was happy with my secondary stuff. My command of my fastball wasn’t what’s it’s been this spring as of late, so I’m a little upset about that, but overall I think I kept the team in the game, so that’s what you try and do.”
Did nerves lead to his early wildness?
“It actually wasn’t. I think I was more nervous the other times than today. I think part of it was that I got to start and got to go through my routine and I was little bit, more comfortable for me. I don’t think it was nerves. That first batter, I threw some great pitches. All those pitches are low, and that’s what you try to stay at the bottom half of the zone. I definitely wasn’t as nervous as I was before.”
On his fastball clocking at 91-92, lower than previous starts:
“I don’t really know. Maybe part of it was getting into my routine of starting, but I felt good out there.”
Whether he was disappointed he didn’t complete third inning of work:
"Yeah, obviously I wanted to, but I understand the situation. I was fine with that.”
Whether he was calm on the mound:
“I would like to think so. Obviously, I still get some adrenaline when I’m out there, but for my first start I was surprised how I felt calm through it.”
Comparing his stuff from his last outing to this one:
“My secondary stuff was probably better today than it was last time. Actually, it was good last time, but the biggest thing was my fastball command. Last time I felt like I could throw the ball where I wanted to and today, I was kind of sporadic,. I didn’t have that pinpoint what I usually have, what I try to have every day.”
Most important thing he’s learned in his first big league camp:
“Off [the field}, just kind of being good to the guys, being a good teammate. On the field, just kind of learning myself, learning what kind of pitcher I am, and I think the quicker you learn that, the more success you’re going to have.”
On facing another lineup made up of several major league hitters:
“I think that’s what you’re going to be facing when you’re in the bigs, you know. You’re not going to be facing any scrubs. It’s definitely good, get those appearances against those guys, get those positive and negative feedback on, you know, your stuff and how it’s going to work against certain guys and stuff like that.”
On his first spring training:
“It’s been awesome. Hammel, I saw him. I grew up a Rockies fan. I saw him pitch for two years there, and it was fun to see him there and now. It’s just kind of cool to be around guys that in college last year I watched on MLB Network. It’s pretty cool, yeah.”