Cowser homers in professional debut (and other notes)

Orioles first-round draft pick Colton Cowser and second-rounder Connor Norby made their professional debuts this afternoon in the Florida Complex League.

Cowser started in center field and batted third for the orange team against the Rays’ Matthew Peguero. He lined a single into center field in his first at-bat, homered to right and was called out on strikes.

Norby started at second base and batted second. He grounded out 3-1 and struck out twice.

Cowser-BP-at-Camden-Yards-Sidebar.jpgThe Orioles made Cowser the fifth-overall selection out of Sam Houston State and signed him for $4.9 million, below the slot value of $6,180,700. Norby, who played at East Carolina University, signed for $1.7 million, below the slot of $1.81 million.

Both players are expected to move up to low Single-A Delmarva later in the summer.

The assignment of draft picks to minor league affiliates has created a roster crunch that led to a handful of releases this morning.

The Orioles released pitchers Cody Carroll and Evan Phillips and infielder/outfielder Chris Shaw from Triple-A Norfolk’s roster, left-hander Kevin Magee from high Single-A Aberdeen and right-hander Jonathan Pendergast from Delmarva.

Carroll was obtained from the Yankees in the 2018 Zack Britton deal. He appeared in 18 games with the Orioles, none this season, and registered a 13.74 ERA and 2.526 WHIP in 19 innings. He made 22 appearances this summer with Norfolk and had a 5.57 ERA and 1.524 WHIP with 11 walks and 23 strikeouts in 21 innings.

Phillips was part of the return from the Braves in the 2018 Kevin Gausman/Darren O’Day trade. He appeared in 44 games with the Orioles from 2018-20, had a 7.36 ERA and 1.867 WHIP in 47 2/3 innings and averaged 6.8 walks and 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings. The Salisbury native had a 5.04 ERA and 1.400 WHIP this summer in 18 games with the Tides, walking 14 batters and striking out 35 in 25 innings.

Shaw was 1-for-39 with Norfolk, but he hit a grand slam on his injury rehab assignment with Aberdeen.

The Orioles drafted Magee, 25, in the ninth round in 2018 out of St. John’s University. He was 8-9 with a 2.78 ERA and 1.108 WHIP in three minor league seasons consisting of 22 starts and 15 relief appearances.

Magee was 0-2 with an 8.15 ERA and 1.698 WHIP this season in seven games (four starts) covering 17 2/3 innings. He allowed 21 hits, walked nine batters and struck out 20.

Pendergast, 23, was a 28th-round pick in 2019 out of Pepperdine University. He made 28 relief appearances in the minors and posted a 4.54 ERA and 1.296 WHIP with 44 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings.

In three games this summer, Pendergast allowed three earned runs (five total) and four hits with two walks, five strikeouts and a hit batter over 4 1/3 innings. He also threw three wild pitches.

In New York, Jorge López is trying to end a streak of six starts in a row of fewer than five innings. He’s faced the Yankees three times this season and allowed 10 earned runs and 11 total in 10 2/3 innings.

In six career starts against the Yankees, López has gone 1-3 with a 7.23 ERA and 1.690 WHIP in 23 2/3 innings. He’s allowed eight earned runs and nine total in in 11 2/3 innings in two starts in the Bronx.

Brett Gardner and DJ LeMahieu are 4-for-10 lifetime against López.

Left-hander Andrew Heaney is making his Yankees debut after arriving at the trade deadline. He spent seven seasons with the Angels and is 6-7 this year with a 5.27 ERA and 1.309 WHIP in 18 starts. He’s averaging 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

Heaney had back-to-back quality starts in July. He’s made three career starts against the Orioles and allowed 10 runs and 22 hits in 16 2/3 innings.

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