SARASOTA, Fla. – Teams can set their own rules for intrasquad games. Thursday’s intrasquad game was supposed to last six innings, but after Kevin Gausman faced four hitters in the top of the fifth, manager Buck Showalter decided he’d seen enough.
Besides Nolan Reimold’s surprise appearance, there was Matt Wieters homering off Troy Patton and declining to trot around the bases and Steve Pearce making a spectacular catch in right field to rob Xavier Avery of a home run.
Gausman easily retired his four batters, striking out two, and he impressed Showalter.
“You can see why everybody things so highly of him. He's got a great delivery and does a lot of things to make himself successful. The changeup he has should play better at higher levels. He's one of those guys who looks real comfortable on the mound," Showalter said.
A year ago, Gausman was at LSU. Now, he’s a professional.
“I felt good. Always good to get out there. It’s weird to see an umpire behind the plate again. It kind of reassures you that it’s baseball season,” Gausman said.
“There’s not really a crowd out there. You could kind of tell it was intrasquad. It was just good to get out there and have hitters in the box, have that feedback on their swings, what’s working and that sort of thing.”
Gausman threw almost exclusively fastballs, but said he mixed in three changeups, but it was a nice step.
“It’s definitely good to kind of get that out of the way. Now, I can focus on not having those jitters. I know I’ll have some jitters when there are actual fans out there. That’s normal. It was definitely good to get that out of the way, and good to have guys behind you and not be throwing so many bullpens,” Gausman said.
-Zach Britton will start Saturday’s exhibition opener against Minnesota’s Kevin Correia, and Jair Jurrjens is the Orioles’ starter on Sunday. Jurrjens will face Toronto’s Mark Buehrle at Dunedin. Jake Arrieta will follow Britton on Saturday.
-Neither Conor Jackson (lower back) nor Luis Martinez (oblique) played. Showalter said he thought Jackson would heal quicker than Martinez.