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Orioles

Orioles promote top relief prospect Tanner Scott to Double-A Bowie

From fellow left-handed relievers Ashur Tolliver and Donnie Hart to starters Jayson Aquino and Jason Garcia, Orioles prospect Tanner Scott watched the stream of Double-A pitchers going right to the majors and had a simple thought.

"Hey, can I get in on this?" he wondered.

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On Thursday, Scott moved one step closer to the answer being yes, earning a promotion to Bowie as reward for a three-month stretch that saw him refine his control through a simple delivery tweak and shoot up to a level that's essentially one away from the majors.

"It's definitely a thought," Scott said. "You can be a call away anywhere, but definitely once you get to Bowie and Norfolk, you're right there. If they need someone, you're a call away. At Frederick, you're a little farther. But it's nice knowing that, especially since four guys have been called up back to back."

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Scott began 2016 with a shaky April, walking 15 batters and fanning 12 in a month that saw him allow 14 runs in 10 1/3 innings. After the worst outing he had, in which he was charged with seven earned runs while walking four and recording two outs, he made an adjustment to keep his hands higher in his delivery. The result was better control, and better results.

In his past 22 outings for the Keys, 18 saw him hold his opponents without an earned run. From May 1 on, he fanned 51 batters with 27 walks and a 2.37 ERA.

"Everything's been going good ever since I made the mechanical adjustment," Scott said. "I've been getting better and better. I had a little rough outing in Carolina [Sunday, when Scott walked three, allowed two hits and five runs without recording an out], but I pitched on one day's rest, came back and threw like I've been throwing the rest of the year. It keeps getting better and better."

Keeping that momentum going could put Scott in line to get back on the so-called fast track to the majors that he entered the season on. In the past year, Mychal Givens, Tolliver, Hart and Aquino have all been summoned straight from Double-A to join the Orioles bullpen with no prior Triple-A experience. Garcia spent last year in the majors, but had been starting at Bowie.

The Orioles don't exclusively pull from there — Chaz Roe, Oliver Drake and Ariel Miranda all came from Triple-A. But a pitcher with Scott's premium velocity — his fastball sits in the high 90s and mixes with a wipeout slider — could find himself in consideration quickly, even if he only has two full seasons of professional ball under his belt.

How he'd get to that point is simple. He said when Frederick manager Keith Bodie called him Thursday morning to tell him of the promotion, the message was clear.

Scott said: "He gave me a call and said, 'Congrats, you're going to Bowie. If you keep throwing strikes, you're going to get people out. Just keep throwing strikes. That's the only thing he told me.'"

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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