PHOENIX - The hype over Adley Rutschman isn’t going to subside or slow as long as he continues down this path.
And that’s fine with the Orioles, who are enjoying every step of it.
Rutschman made his catching debut today in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League after serving as the designated hitter on Saturday in his first game. He went 1-for-4 with a stolen base and two runs scored in the GCL Orioles’ 9-1 victory over the GCL Braves.
The Braves didn’t attempt a stolen base against him.
The Orioles held back Rutschman after discovering that he had a mild case of mononucleosis. His projected report date changed a couple of times before he appeared in his first game over the weekend and homered in his third professional at-bat.
Of course he did.
Rutschman received a record bonus of $8.1 million after the Orioles made him the first overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft out of Oregon State University. His slot carried a value of $8,415,300, but he exceeded UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole’s previous record of $8 million.
The switch-hitting Rutschman, who homered from the left side Saturday, was the consensus No. 1 pick after batting .411/.575/.751 as a junior with 10 doubles, a triple, 17 home runs and 58 RBIs in 57 games and slashing .419/.578/.731 in 29 games in the Pac 12 conference.
He won the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy. He impressed the Orioles with his workouts in Sarasota prior to his GCL debut, both in the batting cage and while catching bullpen sessions. And he’s off to a good start now that he’s playing.
As I wrote on Saturday, the Orioles are expected to keep Rutschman in Florida for a few more days and move him to short-season Single-A Aberdeen over the weekend. The IronBirds are home Tuesday through Sunday, with Hudson Valley visiting Ripken Stadium for a weekend series.
The odds are pretty good that Cal Ripken Jr. will be at the ballpark to watch Rutschman.
While we’re down on the farm, Double-A Bowie’s Michael Baumann was named the Eastern League’s Pitcher of the Week after tossing a nine-inning no-hitter against Harrisburg.
And while I’m in Phoenix, I’ll stop by Adam Jones’ locker this afternoon prior to the Orioles’ game against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field, where the roof will be closed.
Temperatures are supposed to climb near 110 degrees.
Jones will try to heat up. He’s searching for his first home run since June 15.
Jones is batting .267 with 19 doubles, 13 home runs, 44 RBIs and a .753 OPS in 373 plate appearances since the Diamondbacks signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal.
After an impressive start with his new team, Jones struggled in June while batting .224/.283/.318 with two doubles and two home runs in 22 games. He’s faced one pitcher on the current Orioles staff, going 1-for-1 against reliever Shawn Armstrong.
The Diamondbacks roster also includes former Orioles pitchers T.J. McFarland and Stefan Crichton and first baseman Christian Walker. Catcher Caleb Joseph is playing at Triple-A Reno.