O’s game blog: First-round pick Cody Sedlock signs, plus tonight’s matchup

Orioles first-round draft pick Cody Sedlock said today that when he was 5, he wrote down on paper that he wanted to be a pro ballplayer. Today, that dream has been realized for him.

The right-hander out of the University of Illinois today signed his first pro contract for a slot bonus of $2,097,200. Taken 27th overall in the First-Year Player Draft, Sedlock is expected to report to Sarasota, Fla., for an orientation and then join the short season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds. It is possible he could first pitch in a game or two in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Sedlock-illinois-white-sidebar.jpg“I want to thank the Baltimore Orioles organization for giving me this opportunity and making my dreams since I was 5 years old become reality,” Sedlock said today at a Camden Yards press conference. “I want to thank everyone that has been there from the start - my parents, who have made the trip here, all my past coaches at Illinois and high school. I can’t wait to get some crab cakes, haven’t gotten any yet. You know Baltimore has been so welcoming to me in my couple of days here. I’m really looking forward to the future and helping the big league squad as fast as possible.”

Sedlock’s best pitch, per scouting reports, is a fastball with heavy sink from 91 to 93 mph that touches 96 mph.

“Cody had an excellent college season and was named Big Ten Conference Pitcher of the Year,” O’s scouting director Gary Rajsich said. “You can see he is big (6-foot-4, 205 lbs.), strong and durable. He has a good arm, a four-pitch arsenal with a good, solid and balanced delivery. He has a good fastball, a good breaking ball, both a curve and slider. Has a good feel for a changeup, and he holds runners well and is quick to the plate, which our major league manager will like.

“What we particularly like is he has the ability to take his stuff up a notch with runners on base. His compete level is really good and that is one of the things that really drew us to Cody.”

Sedlock went 5-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 14 starts this season and fanned a school-record 116 over 101 1/3 innings. He pitched nine innings or more in four of his last five starts, once pitching 10 2/3 innings.

“I just really hope in seeing that, that people see my competitiveness,” Sedlock said. “Knowing that every time I step on the mound I want to finish the game myself. Personally, I take pride in that. I know there is great history here and this is such a great ballpark. But being in Baltimore the past couple of days, it’s been unbelievable. My attitude toward the organization is on cloud nine right now.

“One thing I noticed, if you’re driving down the street, everyone is wearing Orioles stuff. Everyone you meet, they are big Orioles fans. The fans in the city and the outside areas are the best in the country. They were so welcoming to me.”

It’s the O’s and Blue Jays tonight: With a 38-27 record, and leading the American East by one game over Boston and two games over Toronto, the Orioles begin a three-game series against the Blue Jays tonight at Camden Yards. The O’s are 24-11 at home and are 8-1-2 in 11 home series.

On the mound, Mike Wright (3-3, 5.31 ERA) faces Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez (6-1, 3.38 ERA). Wright faced the Blue Jays on Saturday while Sanchez faced the Orioles on Sunday.

On June 6, Wright pitched seven innings, allowing one unearned run against Kansas City. But on Saturday at Rogers Centre, he went five innings, allowing six hits and four runs in a game that Orioles would lose 11-6 as Toronto scored eight runs in its last three at-bats. He issued a career high five walks that day, throwing just 49 of 103 pitches for strikes.

Wright is 2-2 with a 4.67 ERA in seven home games this year. He has an ERA of 9.45 when facing an AL East teams, allowing 35 earned runs over 33 1/3 innings.

Sanchez gave up six runs and 10 hits, including four homers, in five innings Sunday against Baltimore. He had allowed four homers all year in his first 12 starts and 80 1/3 innings, then gave up four in one game. The four homers were a career high and he became the first Toronto pitcher in team history to allow four home runs and still get a win. The 10 hits he gave up also matched his career high.

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