For the first time in four seasons, the Orioles will have a different face taking the mound on opening day.
Chris Tillman had started the last three seasons for the Orioles, but a sore right shoulder caused Showalter to rule the righty out for the opener early in spring training.
Gausman finished strong last season posting a 9-12 record with a 3.61 ERA. In the second half, the starter went 8-6 with a 3.10 ERA and was expected to be the man to make the season start after the Tillman injury.
“Really it was kind of trying to piece it together. Thought I might have a chance obviously with Tilly out,” Gausman told the AP. “That’s one thing. If Chris is healthy right now it’s his game to start. But happy, excited. A lot of things to be thankful for in my life right now. Obviously, an exciting time for my family and obviously looking forward to it.”
This will be the first time Gausman will be beginning the season in the starting rotation for the Orioles. The 2012 fourth round pick will be up against the division rival Toronto Blue Jays right out of the gate.
Showalter said he had options on who to start, but thought Gausman gave the team the best opportunity with his skill set.
“He’s got a good feel for the big leagues as compared to when he came in,” Showalter said. “He’s learned a lot of things about how to pitch when he’s not carrying his best stuff.”
The O’s will kick off the season on Monday at home and will face off against Marco Estrada of the Blue Jays at 3:45 p.m.