SARASOTA, Fla. - The media’s interest in today’s bullpen sessions peaked with Kevin Gausman’s spring debut.
Gausman, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, joined Mike Belfiore and Eduardo Rodriguez in Group 4. Minor league catcher Allan de San Miguel set the target.
“It’s all good,” Gausman said. “First time in front of the coaches in front of the mound. They’ve seen me in Tampa when I was kind of in-season and after it. Nobody’s expecting me to throw 95 today. It’s more, get used to being out there and throwing off the bump.
“I was just throwing fastballs. I threw like two sliders. I’m just trying to get the feel of my first two before I throw my slider off the mound.”
Asked if he was nervous, Gausman replied, “No. Not really. It was just kind of focusing in on getting my work done, kind of feeling my body, feeling my mechanics, more of that more than anything.”
Gausman’s locker is next to reliever Darren O’Day, who is next to Jim Johnson. There’s a nice veteran presence near Gausman, a group that’s quick to offer instruction or some good-natured teasing.
“They’re always on me, all over me,” Gausman said with a smile. “I’m the rookie here, but they’ve been cool, they’ve been funny.
“O’Day calls me ‘Dunkin’ because of my donuts thing. I guess that’s my new nickname. They haven’t really been giving me any advice, just kind of getting down the bunt plays and that kind of stuff.”
Manager Buck Showalter said he hasn’t noticed any “rookie hazing.”
“I heard a couple of guys asking him to get them a drink of water. I haven’t done that,” Showalter said. “(Dylan) Bundy was kind of an experienced receiver of that, kind of helped him.”
It’s no accident that the Orioles placed Gausman’s locker by the veteran relievers. Same with 19-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez being near Miguel Gonzalez and Pedro Strop. It’s done by design.
“You get to pick their friends initially,” Showalter said. “It’s not what they’re going to do or say. The example is going to be right there.”
Showalter noted that Gausman, though hardly packed in muscle, “actually tests out as one of our stronger young guys weight-wise.”
“The thing that hits me watching pitchers over the years is they all have a broad backs,” Showalter said. “Take a look at Eduardo Rodriguez from behind tomorrow. It’s like a coat hanger, 20 years old. Gausman’s got a pretty good look. I think physically he’s going to be fine. I like where he is physically. Look at what great shape he’s in. To the eye he may look a little slight compared to a 28-year-old established guy.
“It’s a lot of new stuff for him. I’m more inclined to kind of leave him alone. He’s had a lot of success doing it the way he’s doing it. I don’t see a whole lot there to change.”
Note: Executive vice president Dan Duquette, calling into “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” on MASN, said he hoped to have pitcher Jair Jurrjens signed today. It didn’t happen.
Duquette remains hopeful that the Orioles soon will be able to make the announcement.
“We’re still working on that to try and get that resolved,” he said. “We were hoping to have that resolved by today but we didn’t come to a resolution. We are still working on it, hopefully we can get something done here soon.”
Jurrjens agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract three weeks ago that includes a possible $2.5 million in incentives. Jurrjens took his physical, but an announcement has been delayed because of concerns over his right knee.