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Orioles top draft pick Adley Rutschman homers in professional debut in Gulf Coast League

Orioles top draft pick Adley Rutschman homers in professional debut in Gulf Coast League
Adley Rutschman, the Orioles' No. 1 draft pick this past June, homered in professional debut. (Patrick Smith/Getty)

Adley Rutschman, the Orioles’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft, made his long-awaited professional debut Saturday in the Gulf Coast League in emphatic fashion.

After lining out to shortstop and flying out to the right-field wall in his first two at-bats, Rutschman homered to deep right field for his first professional hit in a 4-2 loss to the GCL Pirates on Saturday in Bradenton, Fla.

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Rutschman, who signed for a record $8.1 million, won’t spend long in the Gulf Coast League before going to Short-A Aberdeen to begin his affiliated career.

“Congratulations on No. 1,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Saturday at Camden Yards. “Hopefully it’s one of many, not in the GCL.”

The reigning Golden Spikes Award winner for the nation’s best collegiate player ended his season with Oregon State shortly before the Orioles drafted him, and the team has always said it will be careful with his usage this year after he caught three long seasons in a row for the Beavers.

Rutschman was the designated hitter Saturday, and will catch some this year, but will have a summer more geared to get him adjusted to professional baseball.

While the minor league seasons end on Labor Day, the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds are already in the playoffs, and Aberdeen is a half-game out of its division lead entering Saturday’s game.

Rutschman’s debut came shortly after Baseball America ranked him the No. 5 overall prospect in baseball, and named him the top prospect in the Orioles organization.

Tanner Scott recalled

Left-hander Tanner Scott spent Friday on the taxi squad from Triple-A Norfolk and was added to the Orioles’ roster Saturday, taking the place of catcher Austin Wynns, who returned to the Tides. Wynns was up to cover for ailing catcher Pedro Severino, who Hyde said is feeling well enough to at least be the backup Saturday.

Scott was last with the Orioles when he pitched two scoreless innings with four strikeouts on June 29 against Cleveland, and has allowed two runs on nine hits in eight innings with 13 strikeouts against three walks in five appearances since returning to Norfolk.

“He’s throwing the ball really well in Norfolk, and last time he was here also, his last outing, he threw really well,” Hyde said. “It’s like a lot of our bullpen guys. It’s command, it’s not stuff. It’s about being able to execute pitchers here at this level, being aggressive and commanding the strike zone. Mid-90s, upper-90s fastball with a really nice slider, and I’d love to see him just attack hitters and trust his stuff like [Miguel Castro] and [Jimmy Yacabonis] did last night.”

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Right-hander Nate Karns (forearm strain) faced hitters on the field at Camden Yards before batting practice. ... Hyde said he’s recommended catcher Chance Sisco not go outside until game time Saturday to keep him out of the heat while catching a second straight night.

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