ST. PETERSBURG -- Kevin Gausman threw a bullpen session at Tropicana Field on Tuesday afternoon, and the young righty -- the organization's first-round pick in this past June's First-Year Player Draft -- said he got goosebumps just being around the Orioles.
"It's awesome," Gausman said of being in the big league atmosphere. "It's cool to be here and meet the guys and be in the same room as them, see them joking around. I think this team is really fun to watch and really fun to be around."
Scheduled to throw a bullpen session already, the Orioles had Gausman come from nearby Sarasota, Fla., where he is playing in the organization's fall instructional league. Gausman, the club's No. 2 overall prospect, said he is slated to make two more starts, including one on Friday, and watching top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy -- the O's top pick in 2011 -- go through the system quickly has him hopeful he can do the same.
"That's one of my goals -- to be here next year and to be able to contribute as much as I possibly can," said Gausman, who was selected as a draft-eligible sophomore out of Louisiana State University. "That's one of my goals, but I'm going to go out there and just try to compete and let everything else, let the cards fall where they may."
Gausman pitched in five games in his first pro season, spending time at short-season Aberdeen and with high Class A Frederick. He allowed six earned runs on 11 hits and a walk, striking out 13 over 15 innings. Asked what were some of the differences between college ball and the Minors, Gausman said it was how opposing hitters approach the game.
"I think that's the biggest thing, just kind of learning the hitters and learning how smart they are," he said. "And which ones you can throw certain pitches to in the game."
Rays not planning on taking it easy against O's
ST. PETERSBURG -- Despite being eliminated from postseason contention -- and regardless of what may be happening further north -- the Rays aren't going to take it easy on an Orioles club trying to win the American League East.
Rays manager Joe Maddon, who used a regular lineup on Tuesday night, told reporters in St. Petersburg and took to Twitter to say his club would still play its remaining two games hard.
"Does that mean he might use [David] Price?," Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose club entered the day a game back of the Yankees, joked when told of Maddon's words. "He's got a lot of great options to pick from, I wouldn't expect anything less.
"If he wants to, if he felt like we helped him that much last year, he could [take it easy]. There's not anybody they can run out there that's not going to be a positive with the pitching they present. It's a good team. And that tells you how tough it is to do what we are all trying to do. That team, as good as it is, is going to barely miss the playoffs."
The Yankees are hosting the Red Sox in their final series, and they cruised to a 10-2 win on Monday night against a Boston lineup that garnered a lot of attention given its lack of regulars. While there were whispers the Orioles weren't pleased with the Red Sox looking as if they were mailing in the final two games, Showalter didn't speak out against it publicly.
Asked how he felt in regards to Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine not playing Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury Monday night, Showalter said: "Nothing. I really don't. Pedroia may have broke his finger against us. And they told me he's in the lineup today? Wow. That's pretty special. And then Ellsbury didn't play a game against us. He's been hurt. He's in the lineup today.
"Let people handle their own. They know. I don't think it's really an issue for me at all and for our players. We got to figure out a way to beat this team and their pitching staff, and that's pretty hard to do, regardless of what happens in New York."
Should the Orioles and the Yankees tie for the AL East lead, the tiebreaking game would be played in Baltimore given that the O's have a better divisional record. The two clubs tied in the first tiebreaker for home field, which is head-to-head matchups.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.