SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles are back home today for a 1:05 p.m. game against the Pirates. Kevin Gausman takes the mound for his fourth Grapefruit League appearance.
Gausman also worked three innings against the Twins' Triple-A team on Tuesday, but those statistics don't count because they came in a game that... well... doesn't count.
On the spring training scale, exhibition games rank higher than games at the minor league complex.
Anyway, Gausman has allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings in Grapefruit League action, with two walks and five strikeouts.
He's still wearing glasses when he pitches to avoid the hassle and discomfort of contact lenses. 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. His right eye is worse than the left.
To prove it, Gausman closed his left eye while sitting in the clubhouse a few days ago and couldn't read the nameplates above the lockers across from him.
Gausman has worn the glasses all spring, but he's also going to get contact lenses in case he needs to switch.
He actually split one of them during an appearance in Cleveland last season. Fortunately, it happened at the conclusion of an inning.
"I thought I was going blind," he said.
Gausman wore glasses as a young kid, but discovered that they weren't "cool" in middle school. He switched to contacts in high school.
Who's laughing now?
Alex Gonzalez singled in his only at-bat yesterday and recorded an out at third base on a heads-up play after replacing Alexi Casilla at shortstop. He's batting .462/.500/.731 with a double, homer and six RBIs in 11 games.
I gave him no shot at making the team after the Orioles signed him to a minor league deal. Now, I can see how he'd fit on the opening day roster, especially if Manny Machado goes on the disabled list as expected.
I heard from one scout outside the organization that the Orioles are considering starting Gonzalez at third base and keeping Ryan Flaherty at second. It's also possible that Flaherty plays third and Gonzalez is used in a utility role.
It's also possible that Gonzalez doesn't make the team. We'll see.