SARASOTA, FLA.—For Kevin Gausman, it’s only a matter of time.
The Orioles optioned the 23-year-old righthander to Triple-A Norfolk the day before rosters needed to be set, and the Tides named him their starter for their April 3 opener.
His time in Baltimore is approaching. As big league manager Buck Showalter says, it’s a matter of when, not if. But the Orioles didn’t have room in their rotation after signing Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50 million contract in February, and they’d like Gausman to continue working on his slider in the International League.
He allowed three runs and seven hits in 11 spring innings, with four walks and 13 strikeouts. He’s neck-and-neck with righty Dylan Bundy for the honor of top pitching prospect in the organization, and he tossed 42/3 scoreless innings in his Norfolk debut this season.
“For the Orioles and for Kevin, all things considered, it’s the right thing to do at this time,” Showalter said. “His time will come.”
“Probably the best Triple-A rotation we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Showalter said. “We’ve got five guys there who could impact us this year.”
Gausman, the fourth overall pick in 2012 out of Louisiana State, is sporting a different look on the mound this year. He ditched his contact lenses and is wearing thick-rimmed glasses.
The “nerd” look provides a nice contrast to the upper-90s fastballs that he’s blowing past hitters.
Gausman is farsighted with astigmatism, as he explained it, with his right eye worse than his left. He experimented with the glasses this spring, though he’s also going to purchase contacts in case he needs to switch.
Gausman wore glasses as a young kid, but discovered that they weren’t cool in middle school. He switched to contacts in high school.
Well, who’s laughing now?
• The Orioles designated lefty reliever Mike Belfiore for assignment while finalizing their 25-man roster for Opening Day. The Tigers subsequently claimed him on waivers and assigned him to Triple-A Toledo.
• The Orioles placed reliever Edgmer Escalona on the 60-day disabled list with a right shoulder impingement. He made one appearance this spring before being shut down.