Wilson optioned, leaves great impression on O’s

SARASOTA, Fla.—Tyler Wilson got everything he needed to out of first Major League camp, said O’s manager Buck Showalter, who optioned the right-hander after he held the Yankees scoreless in Saturday’s four-inning start.

Showalter joked that Wilson’s dominant outing —in which he held the Yankees to one hit— wasn’t enough for the O’s high standards, though the real reason Wilson was sent to Triple-A Norfolk is so he can be stretched out and get ready for the Minor League season.

“He got everything out of this spring that he could hope for,” Showalter said of Wilson, who allowed one earned run over 14 spring innings.

“He had a great spring.”

The former 10th-round pick pounded the strike zone, throwing 43 pitches (33 for strikes) and didn’t seem fazed in facing a Yankees lineup full of regulars.

“Warming up in the bullpen and they’re announcing the lineup and it’s one multi-year All-Star after another, it was pretty cool,” Wilson said, “but as soon as you pick the ball up on the mound in the game, it’s time to get to business and simplify everything and control what I can as opposed to worrying about who was in the box.”

In six spring games, Wilson issued one walk and struck out 11. He worked well with catcher Steve Clevenger on Saturday in using his command to his advantage.

“I felt great. We had, going into it, like I told you guys yesterday, I really just wanted to pitch my game, I wanted to get ahead early, pound the bottom of the zone and throw strikes, make quality pitches no matter who was in the box,” Wilson said. “Clev did a great job back there kind of walking me through it because I’d obviously never pitched against any of those guys before. He helped me with making good pitch selections, good target and getting ahead early.”

Wilson, who was named the Orioles Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, has steadily climbed the organization’s ranks despite not attaining “top prospect” status among national outlet until just recently. An 11th-round pick out of the University of Virginia, Wilson led O’s Minor Leaguers with 14 wins and 157 strikeouts in a  season split between Double-A and Triple-A.

“Every time I pitch, I’m fired up whether it’s Bowie, Norfolk, Delmarva, whatever,” Wilson said. “It’s fun to be able to go out there and pitch for a living. I was definitely more fired up [Saturday] than normal just given the circumstances. That’s a good environment to be able to harness everything, kind of reel it back in because there are going to be starts in the season that are the same way.”

Showalter made it clear Saturday that Wilson is on the team’s radar and the Orioles could use him as a reliever or starter down the road this season.

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