Three O's prospects expected to start in AFL championship game

Three Orioles prospects are expected to start tomorrow for Surprise when the Saguaros take on Mesa at 3:10 p.m. eastern in the Arizona Fall League championship game, which will be televised by MLB Network.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start on the mound and will likely pitch three innings. Henry Urrutia is expected to start in left field with Jonathan Schoop at shortstop.

Rodriguez is 0-1 with a 5.52 ERA in five AFL starts. Urrutia is batting .377 with three homers, 15 RBIs, a .551 slugging percentage and .985 OPS. He ranks third in the AFL in average and is fifth in both slugging and OPS. Schoop is batting .177 with three homers and six RBIs over 16 games.

In a few other minor league notes:

First baseman Christian Walker, who hit .300 this season and played at three levels of the Orioles farm system, is doing fine now after his season ended early due to a back injury.

In fact, Walker's 2012 and 2013 seasons both ended about a month early due to lower back soreness. But the club's fourth-round pick in June of 2012 out of the University of South Carolina under went rehab during instructional league and and should have a normal winter of workouts and be 100 percent for spring training.

The 22-year-old right-handed hitter began last season at Single-A Delmarva, then moved up to Single-A Frederick and later to Double-A Bowie. He also played in the Futures Game during the All-Star break in New York.

Over 103 games, he batted .300 with 27 doubles, 11 homers, 56 RBIs and a .815 OPS. He hit .242 in 17 games with Bowie, but his average for the entire season ranked fourth among O's minor leaguers.

Pitcher Zach Clark, who has been in the O's minors since 2006, could be returning to the organization in 2014. Clark is currently a minor league free agent but the O's have interest in re-signing him, although no deal has been agreed to yet. Clark began throwing a knuckleball during 2013 where he went 3-15 with a 7.84 ERA over 111 1/3 innings.

Clark was an Oriole for a few days early last season and he made what is so far his one and only big league appearance in relief on May 1, when he gave up three runs in 1 2/3 innings at Seattle.

After going 2-for-19 over a five-game stretch, Caleb Joseph is 6-for-14 over his past three games in Venezuela. In 14 games for Bravos de Margarita, Joseph is batting .273 with two homers, nine RBIs and a .753 OPS.

Pitcher Eddie Gamboa threw five more shutout innings in his most recent start in Mexico and he has pitched 11 1/3 scoreless innings over his past two outings. In five starts, the right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA. In 31 innings he has allowed 25 hits with 10 walks and 21 strikeouts.

Happy birthday today to Dylan Bundy. The rehabbing O's pitching prospect turns 21 today.

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