Gausman cruises in first spring start

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman turned in an impressive Grapefruit League debut on Saturday night, facing the minimum over two innings in a 10-6 split-squad loss to the Rays.

Gausman gave up just one hit, a first-inning single by Corey Dickerson, who was subsequently caught stealing. The Orioles' 25-year-old right-hander exited with the game scoreless, having struck out three.

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"I actually came down and threw a couple more [pitches] just to get me to 40, better myself for the next outing," Gausman said of his 31-pitch debut. "Obviously, I'm happy to get through two innings and get some guys some ground-ball work."

Gausman noted it was weird to face former Oriole Steve Pearce, who grounded out to end Gausman's night and scored in the fourth inning against Todd Redmond, but was overall pleased with the outing.

"I felt good," he said. "The biggest thing right now is just fastball command. I threw some good pitches on the inner half when I was meaning to. So, I think that's usually one of the last things that come. Especially facing hitters for the first time in a game, I'm kind of happy about that."

This spring has a different feel for Gausman, who is expected to be part of the Baltimore rotation. The right-hander has spent the majority of the past two years being shuttled between Triple-A and the Majors, pitching in long relief and as a starter.

"Normally during Spring Training, I'm just kind of cruising along and don't really know. I'm just getting innings where I can," he said. "So it will be nice to know what I'm doing, know I'm pitching every fifth day, that I'll be starting the game and getting in my routine."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.