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Orioles sign top draft pick Gausman

BALTIMORE - Although it went down to the very end of the last possible day, the Orioles agreed to terms with their first pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, pitcher Kevin Gausman from LSU.

According to Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich, Baltimore finally came to terms on a deal with Gausman at 4:59 p.m. The Orioles had to sign him by the 5 p.m. deadline.

"I'm just really pleased to have him," Rajsich said. "He was one of the premier college pitchers that was available in the draft this year. We are thrilled to have him here in Baltimore."

Gausman, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds, went 12-2 with a 2.77 ERA this season for LSU, which made it to the College World Series. The righty struck out 135 over 123 2-3 innings pitched.

Earlier this week, there were reports that Gausman was considering returning to college for his junior year, but ended up signing a $4.32 million contract with the Orioles.

"I was confident that we were going to get a deal done," Gausman said. "I feel so blessed right now to have this opportunity and [I'm] just real excited.

"I would say it was a difficult decision. ... I'm just happy that we got this done. I'm happy to start this road that I'm going to be starting soon, and with a great, young organization."

Gausman first reported the signing on his Twitter account when he tweeted: "Happy to be the newest member of the Baltimore Orioles organization!!! Living my dream!! #GoBirds!"

The hard-throwing right-hander has a handful of pitches in his arsenal, and can hit the mid-90s with his fastball.

"I think my changeup was probably the main reason that I got drafted by the Orioles," Gausman said. "Also, my fastball is kind of a sinking fastball, and in Camden Yards, the ball kind of flies out of here sometimes, so I definitely think that had something to do with it."

Prior to the fourth inning of Friday's game against Detroit, Gausman was introduced to the crowd at Camden Yards and was met with a standing ovation.

Dan Duquette said that he is not sure yet where, or how much, Gausman will pitch in the minor leagues this year.

"That's a conversation that we need to have with Kevin because I think he pitched over 125 innings this year for LSU, so we need to have that conversation before we come up with what the plan is, and we'll have that conversation in the next couple days," said Duquette, the Orioles' executive vice president of baseball operations.

Thirty of the 40 Orioles' draft picks signed with the team, and nine of their first 10 picks, including Gausman.

"I think we accomplished what we tried to do actually," Rajsich said. "I'm pretty pleased with the draft overall. He was the keystone of the whole thing and we're excited to have him here."

Added Gausman: "Now that I know I'm definitely going to be an Oriole, and I am an Oriole, I want to go out and experience those things in Baltimore that I've heard so much about."

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