Rule 5 Pick Pedro Araujo Wins Over Orioles

Righthander Pedro Araujo was the second of the three Rule 5 pitchers selected by the Orioles last December, but he seemed to garner the least amount of attention. It wasn’t until his arrival at spring training that he separated himself from the pack.

The Orioles added Araujo to the Opening Day roster despite his lack of upper-levels experience. He made only one appearance above high Class A Myrtle Beach last summer in the Cubs organization.

Araujo, 24, allowed four runs and five hits with nine strikeouts in 9.2 innings in spring training. He was scored upon in just two of his nine appearances and kept gaining the organization’s trust with his results and his demeanor.

“Good aptitude, tough kid,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s very coachable, and then he takes the mound and starts throwing the ball in games and carries it all over. Changeup—that’s a weapon for him. I don’t know what else he’d have to do for us to say, ‘OK, let’s find out if what we think he could be could happen.’

“He’s a guy who can pop for us.”

Araujo made 44 of his 45 appearance last year at Myrtle Beach and recorded a 1.81 ERA and 0.91 WHIP with 83 strikeouts in 64.2 innings.

Veteran relievers Darren O’Day, Brad Brach and Mychal Givens informed Araujo that he made the team.

“I was very surprised when I opened the door and I see these guys over here, O’Day and Givens,” Araujo said via translator Ramon Alarcon. “I’m like, ‘OK, what did I do wrong here?’ But they told me right away.

O’Day (said), ‘Do you remember the (pitchers’ fielding practice)?’ I said, ‘What PFP? What are you talking about?’ And then afterward he told me, ‘You made the team, congratulations,’ so I was very happy.

“After last year, I was not really expecting to make a big jump to the big leagues, but I was very surprised, very fortunate. I had a lot of bumps along the way. It’s been a long (trek) for me. I had to spend a lot of time, hard work and dedication, but I’m happy to be here.”

>> The Orioles returned Rule 5 reliever Jose Mesa Jr. to the Yankees after they waived him to make room for Alex Cobb on the 40-man roster. Mesa allowed five runs and 10 hits and walked seven batters in 7.2 innings.

>> In addition to Araujo, the Orioles wound up keeping Rule 5 lefthander Nestor Cortes, who was taken from the Yankees with Baltimore’s first selection.

>> Ryan Mountcastle will return to Double-A Bowie and continue to work at third base after moving over from shortstop last summer. Additionally, he was taking fly balls on the minor league back fields in an effort to add versatility.

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