Showalter on Gausman getting opening day start (plus notes)

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles reassigned catcher Chance Sisco to minor league camp and five more cuts are expected later today.

Sisco went 7-for-24 with two doubles and a home run, but of greater importance was his improved defense.

Kevin Gausman becomes the first Orioles homegrown pitcher to start on opening day since Jake Arrieta in 2012 and the second since Erik Bedard in 2007.

Gausman-Delivers-White-Sidebar.jpg“I had some guys to pick from,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I just thought Kevin was the best equipped in a lot of different areas. Your No. 1 starter is the guy who’s pitching that night.

“We think Kevin is a guy who can help us put our best foot forward. We had some other guys you could pick from, but innings and ... He’s primed to be as good as he’s capable of being this year and we want to take advantage of that.

“He’s got a feel for when to charge and when not to charge, when to slow guys down and when not to slow guys down. He’s more of a complete pitcher instead of a guy who’s just 97-98 (mph). You see him go get it when he needs it. Not paces himself, but he looks at a start as hopefully a long one and he uses his bullets appropriately. He’s a guy who’s got a good feel for the big leagues. He’s learned a lot of things about how to pitch when he’s not carrying his best stuff. He’s a trustworthy guy now.”

Showalter is waiting to announce his No. 3 starter. He wants to check how left-hander Wade Miley gets through Tuesday’s outing against the Braves.

“We’ve got the month of April kind of mapped out,” he said. “We’ve just got to plug in the three and four.”

Showalter said he has a pretty good idea who will be the fifth starter on April 15. The winner of that competition won’t break camp with the team.

Prior major league experience isn’t a requirement.

“Not at all,” Showalter said. “I don’t think we’ve got anybody with enough track record there to really jump out at you. It could be if we had someone like that. You could kind of throw out spring training a little bit, but we’re not in that position right now.”

Ubaldo Jiménez pitched yesterday in a minor league game and struck out 10 batters, according to Showalter.

“I keep telling you his stuff has been crisp all spring,” Showalter said.

Seth Smith, Pedro Álvarez and Hyun Soo Kim are getting at-bats today at Twin Lakes Park.

Showalter indicated there are four pitchers competing for the last two bullpen spots. Tyler Wilson is in the competition despite making today’s start.

“I think he’s got the potential to do both,” Showalter said. “The way we’re situated right now, it’s more of a reliever, but that could change. We know how that usually works. He’ll probably pitch four or five shutout innings today. I hope so. Would present us with another option.

“That rotation down in Norfolk is appealing. We’ve got some depth there we haven’t had.”

Showalter indicated that Rule 5 pick Anthony Santander is likely to begin the season on the disabled list. He said Santander just started to throw again after the former Indians minor leaguer received an MRI arthrogram on his right elbow.

“It’s going to be tough for him to make the start of the season,” Showalter said.

Chris Tillman gave the thumbs-up sign this morning when asked how he felt during yesterday’s game of catch.

Vidal Nuño and Logan Verrett are listed as today’s relievers behind Wilson.

The Orioles faced Blue Jays left-hander Francisco Liriano yesterday, are facing Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez today and will face Braves left-hander Jaime García on Tuesday. Miley starts Tuesday for the Orioles in Lake Buena Vista.

For the Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Brock Holt LF
Steve Selsky CF
Sandy León C
Bryce Brentz RF

Eduardo Rodriguez LHP

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