One of the final cuts of spring training, Gausman got a taste of facing big league hitters. He pitched against the Blue Jays twice in Grapefruit League games — both times in relief — allowing one run on one hit over 2 1/3 innings. But he realizes this time will be much different.
"I think the hitters up here have more of a plan," Gausman said. "I think the hitters are smarter and make quicker adjustments. I think as a pitcher, whether you're a starter or in the [bullpen], you've got to be able to make quick adjustments as well. I think it's definitely a game of who can make the quicker adjustment."
Showalter said starting Gausman on the road wasn't by design — the Orioles had a rotation spot to fill on Thursday. Gausman was scheduled to start Wednesday for Bowie in Akron, but he was scratched from that start and arrived in Baltimore on Wednesday so he could travel with the team through customs to Canada.
When Gausman arrived to the clubhouse, a huge scrum of media was waiting by his locker. He dropped his bag, walked into Showalter's office for a quick talk and then went around to greet his teammates one by one.
Showalter said he leaned on catcher Matt Wieters, whose major league debut on May 29, 2009 was incredibly heralded, for advice on how to make Gausman's first day in the majors easier. Upon Wieters' suggestion, Showalter had the reporters disperse from Gausman's locker to give him 30 minutes to get adjusted to his new surroundings.
As the media finished interviewing Gausman, reliever Darren O'Day jokingly threw his cleat into the scrum — posing it as a microphone — and asked Gausman if he was going to be late for his first major league stretch session.
One thing that stands out about Gausman is his comfort. He fit in well during spring training. And despite intense amounts of attention in the minors — Gausman would be mobbed by autograph-seekers in Bowie on nights when he was in the stands charting pitches — he's handled it all well.
"He's very mature," Kendall said. "What he did between his starts and how he prepared, he was so focused on where he wants to be, and that's pitching in the big leagues. Everything he's done here and everything he's done in the past as an Oriole, the focus has been on getting to the big leagues, and he's worked hard at it."