SARASOTA, Fla. — Jason Hammel is set to start the Baltimore Orioles’ opener at Tampa Bay.
The Orioles also reassigned their No. 1 draft choice from last year, former LSU ace Kevin Gausman, to their minor league camp.
The Baltimore Sun reported that Gausman’s days were likely numbered after he made his final spring start Tuesday in the Orioles’ 9-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
Gausman allowed three runs on six hits in 3.2 innings with three strikeouts and no walks. He threw 69 pitches, 50 of them strikes.
As for Hammel, who threw five innings in a minor league game Wednesday, he is scheduled to start against the Rays’ David Price on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“We look it at as one of the five starters. He will be the first guy of the season,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Hammel was 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA for the Orioles last season, and pitched Games 1 and 5 in the American League Divisional Series against New York.
“It’s an honor,” Hammel said. “Very excited. Basically what it means, is I get to be the one to get us off on the right foot. I don’t take that lightly. Very confident to come out and win there.”
He’ll be followed in the Orioles’ rotation by Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez.
Hammel missed much of the second half of last season after surgery on his right knee.
The 30-year-old right-hander has only pitched in three major league games this month because Showalter wanted to avoid using him against American League East rivals.
“I’m very happy to say I made it through healthy,” Hammel said. “That was my main concern after last year. It was the first time I dealt with an injury that long and I feel like I’ve come back stronger from it. I may not have pitched in many Grapefruit League games, but I was able to get the work in I needed to.”
Showalter declined to reveal his fourth and fifth starters. Chris Tillman will probably be one of them, and Jake Arrieta is in the lead for the other.
CLUB, Happ add another year to CONTRACT:In Dunedin, Fla., pitcher J.A. Happ and the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a $9.1 million, two-year contract that adds an additional $5.4 million and one season to the deal he reached in January.
Happ’s salary remains $3.7 million for this year, and the new deal adds a $5.2 million salary for 2014 and a $6.7 million team option for 2015 with a $200,000 buyout.
The left-hander went a combined 10-11 with a 4.79 ERA in 28 games last year for Houston and Toronto.
He is 35-35 with a 4.19 ERA in six seasons with Philadelphia, the Astros and Blue Jays.
Happ has a 1.90 ERA in seven appearances this spring training.
Source: Wainwright, TEAM strike $97.5M deal: Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals have agreed to a new contract that guarantees the Cardinals’ ace an additional $97.5 million over five years through 2018.
Wainwright had been eligible to become a free agent after the World Series.
The new agreement, first reported by FoxSports.com, was confirmed by a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because it had not yet been announced.
The Cardinals scheduled a news conference for Thursday at their spring training camp in Jupiter, Fla.
A 31-year-old right-hander, Wainwright was 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA last year after missing the Cardinals’ World Series championship season in 2011 because of elbow surgery.
Wainwright was 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA in 2010 and was an NL All-Star.
McCARVER WILL STEP DOWN AFTER 2013: In New York, baseball analyst Tim McCarver said Wednesday he will step down from his position at Fox after this season.
McCarver said on a conference call he had told the network he will not try to extend his contract, which expires at the end of the 2013 season.
The 71-year-old McCarver has worked 28 consecutive Major League Baseball postseasons on network television dating to 1984, providing analysis for a record 23 World Series.
In 21 big league seasons, McCarver hit .271 with 97 homers and 645 RBIs.
“It’s time to cut back,” he said.