Kevin Gausman, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 draft who tossed 48 innings for the Orioles in his debut last season, is headed back to the majors to start Wednesday against the Tigers.
Gausman is one of the best dozen or so pitching prospects in baseball, but recently missed time with pneumonia while at Triple-A. He’s thrown 26 innings with a 2.08 ERA and 26 strikeouts this year, although he has issued 14 walks.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles haven’t said yet whether Gausman will remain in the rotation beyond Wednesday’s start, but he speculates that Miguel Gonzalez could be demoted to the bullpen to make room.
Last season in his first taste of the big leagues Gausman totaled 49 strikeouts in 48 innings despite struggling somewhat overall and averaged 95.9 miles per hour with his fastball. At age 23 he has No. 1 starter upside long term.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.