FORT MYERS, Fla. - Kevin Gausman tossed two scoreless innings today against the Minnesota Twins before allowing two runs in the third. His fastball has topped out at 97 mph and reached 96 mph multiple times.
Wilkin Ramirez doubled leading off the third inning for the Twins’ first hit. Gausman responded by striking out former Orioles farmhand Pedro Florimon on a 96 mph fastball, but Aaron Hicks pulled a ball down the first base line, past Chris Davis and into the right field corner for an RBI triple.
Brian Dozier followed with an RBI single - the second Minnesota batter to work Gausman for nine pitches in the inning.
Gausman threw three consecutive 96 mph fastballs to Josh Willingham in the first inning and induced a ground ball to third base on an 84 mph changeup. He struck out Justin Morneau, on an ugly swing, with another changeup.
Ryan Doumit reached with one out in the second inning when Gausman failed to catch Chris Davis’ toss. The Orioles were in an exaggerated shift, with third baseman Manny Machado playing in shallow right field.
Gausman got a called third strike on Chris Parmelee on a 96 mph fastball to end the second, leaving him with 26 pitches, including 20 for strikes.
Gausman has allowed two runs and three hits, walked none and struck out three in three innings. He’s thrown 53 pitches, 39 for strikes.
Twins starter Liam Hendriks left the game in the top of the third after being hit by a Brian Roberts line drive. The ball was headed toward Hendriks’ face, but he turned at the last instant and apparently was clipped on the upper arm. His glove flew off his hand as he hit the ground. Scary moment.
Manager Buck Showalter met with veteran left-hander Mark Hendrickson earlier today, but not to cut him from the camp roster.
“He’s still in the mix here,” Showalter said. “There could be some ways things shake out here. We’re not forgetting him. He’s been impressive.
“I’m upbeat about what I was hoping would happen. He’s picked it up quickly. Whether it’s here or Double-A or Triple-A, it’s something that we’ll continue down the path with.
“Bowie’s a lot closer to York, but I’m hoping it’s Baltimore or Norfolk. I’d like for him to face better competition. He’s still on the radar.”
Showalter seemed relieved by the news on Wilson Betemit’s MRI, though he naturally would have preferred no damage to the PCL.
“Once or twice I’ve seen really, really bad hamstrings in the back, all the way down to the bottom,” Showalter said. “That’s what I was kind of hoping. But that one’s six to eight-plus weeks, that hamstring pull. I think this is as good as we could have expected.
“We’re still gathering some of the data. We’ve got multiple guys looking at it and coming to grips with whether they want to go in and do something arthroscopic.
“I think he’s a little more upbeat than you think he normally would be. I asked him how he slept last night and he said, ‘Pretty good.’ I know it’s kind of upbeat for everybody to see him there, not overly down, all things considered. The thought of getting him back in six-to-eight weeks is pretty encouraging.”
Showalter said he only watched the replay of Betemit’s injury once. That’s all he could stomach.
Steve Johnson may not make Thursday night’s start against the Tampa Bay Rays because of soreness in his lower back.
“I don’t like to put him in harm’s way this close to the season,” Showalter said. “He’s still got some discomfort there.”
Showalter is hesitant to pitch Johnson with the temperature expected to dip into the 40s.
Chris Tillman remains scheduled to start Friday against the State College of Florida, though Showalter was toying with the idea of letting him face Triple-A hitters at Twin Lakes Park.
Whether Tillman makes the 25-man roster when the Orioles break camp is another matter.
Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen will pitch against minor leaguers - either at Ed Smith Stadium or Twin Lakes Park - before the Orioles play night games Wednesday and Thursday.
Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia continues to take live batting practice. The idea is being kicked around of having him play against the State College of Florida on Friday at Ed Smith Stadium.