MINNEAPOLIS -- Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman was placed on the Minor League disabled list on Friday with focal pneumonia, which was actually good news given that the original, mistaken diagnosis was a left intercostal strain.
Gausman, who has been sick and unable to shake a cough for a while, got an MRI exam on the area on Friday. Manager Buck Showalter said it showed that it was not a muscle issue as previously thought. Though it remains disappointing for the team, the O's now think Gausman -- placed on the seven-day DL retroactive to April 30 -- will not be out as long as anticipated.
"It's nothing that would prevent him from pitching as soon as he feels better," Showalter said. "He's real drained. First time he thought he was having a stroke or a heart attack, his whole chest. So they went for an MRI today, and they thought there was a spot."
Gausman had been on a strict pitch count with Triple-A Norfolk and had not gone more than five innings in his first five starts. The 23-year-old had been really sick to start the season and also dealt with a blister on his pitching hand in another game. A lingering cough had caused his initial panic, and he would have been a candidate for the Orioles -- who added reliever Brad Brach on Friday -- had this not come up.
"We like where Gaus is right now," Showalter said. "Look at the positive side, it's another decrease of innings pitched. There's a silver lining to everything, right?"
The Orioles' top draft pick in 2012, Gausman is rated the O's No. 2 prospect behind Dylan Bundy by MLB.com as well as the 37th-best prospect in baseball to start the season. He made his Major League debut in 2013, going 3-5 with a 5.66 ERA in 20 games, including five starts.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.