ABERDEEN, Md. - After five outings in the Gulf Coast League, the Orioles first round draft pick, right-hander Hunter Harvey makes his debut tonight for short-season, Single-A Aberdeen.
Harvey will face the Hudson Valley Renegades here at Ripken Stadium at 7:05 p.m. after working to a 1.35 ERA over 13 1/3 innings in the GCL with two walks and 18 strikeouts.
Harvey is the son of former big league pitcher Bryan Harvey, who is here for this game. He is scheduled to throw around 75 to 80 pitches tonight and go about five innings. Harvey threw 60 pitches in his last outing in the Gulf Coast League.
Starting today Aberdeen will go to a six-man rotation which means Harvey's next start is expected to be Monday at Lowell as he joins a rotation that includes Sebastian Vader, Mitch Horacek, Austin Urban, Alex Santana and Steven Brault.
Aberdeen manager Matt Merullo, a former scout, has seen his share of first round draft picks over the years. He knows the high expectations that first round picks can face.
"From the little bit I've been around him he seems like a very humble guy," Merullo said. "I think he just enjoys throwing a baseball and he'd enjoy pitching in front of 40,000 people or four people. I don't think he'll let anybody's expectation creep into his head.
"I had a sense yesterday, watching him in the dugout doing the (pitching) chart. I said to him, 'Little different environment here than in Florida.' But there was no deer in the headlights look. There is always a lot of hype that goes around with a first-round pick, but it looked like he was just ready to be the next guy on the mound."
It is an important game for Aberdeen which leads its division by a game and a half with 16 to play. The IronBirds are chasing their first-ever playoff berth which would be an accomplishment for a franchise that has had just one winning season in 12 in its history.
Aberdeen outfielder Sam Kimmel is going on the disabled list, due to a concussion after a collision with an outfield wall. In 39 games, Kimmel is batting .277 with a homer and 16 RBIs. Also Aberdeeen infielder Jeff Kemp, this year's 33rd round pick who is from Bowie, Md. is expected to miss several days due to a shoulder injury, leaving Aberdeen thin at the moment in middle infielders.