Orioles calling up top prospect Kevin Gausman

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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.

A.J. Hinch responds to Ken Giles’ negative comments about Astros

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On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:

I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.

While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”

Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.

At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.