With strong camp, Kevin Gausman is trying to make team

SARASOTA, Fla. - Kevin Gausman went through a few changes last year, his first full season in pro baseball. He ended the year with a second changeup and some tweaking of his mechanics.

It would seem surprising that he made some changes during the season, especially for a pitcher that was the fourth overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

After such success in college, was Gausman surprised that he changed a few things once he got to pro ball?

“Not really. As a pitcher, you always have to be adjusting and kind of developing new things. You find out what works for you,” he said.

“My circle change has been great this spring and that’s another pitch for me I didn’t have at this time last year.

“I started throwing it when I got called up (in July) and at first, I really didn’t have a feel for it. I’d throw it in the dirt a lot and now I have a lot more feel for it. It’s a great pitch for me against lefties, just like my split-change is.

“I look at it as kind of a harder changeup. It’s 88-91 (mph) and I like where it’s at velocity-wise and it makes my split-change that much better.”

Over three stints with the Orioles, Gausman went 3-5 with a 5.66 ERA. He ended the year in the bullpen and pitched to a 3.56 ERA in relief with 29 strikeouts over 23 innings. In his final seven bullpen outings last year, he pitched to a 2.35 ERA with 13 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings.

He’s having a strong spring camp and now the question is will the O’s send him to the minors for more seasoning or is he forcing his way onto the team now by how well he is throwing?

“Trying to put some pressure on them and I want to break camp with the team, that’s my goal,” Gausman said. “In what role, that is up to them. I think I’ve shown I can pitch out of the ‘pen. There are some things I don’t control.

“Right now, just trying to get my mechanics right and have a feel for every pitch, so whether I am in Norfolk or Baltimore, that I’m prepared for the season to start and hit the ground running.”

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