Orioles promote Merced's Eddie Gamboa

August 21, 2009 

Submitted photo Eddie Gamboa

MERCED SUN-STAR

Frederick manager Richie Hebner called Eddie Gamboa into his office after Sunday's game.

Immediately, Gamboa's heart started beating a little bit faster.

"With all the trades and things going on, it was a little scary to go in the office," said Gamboa, the former Merced High ace turned Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect.

"He told me he had good news and bad news. We had a golf tournament the next day.

"He said, 'The bad news is you don't be able to play in the golf tournament tomorrow. The good news is you're going to Double-A.' "

It's been a whirlwind season for Gamboa, who entered spring training just hoping to make the full season Single-A team in Delmarva.

Gamboa has gone from Delmarva to High-A Frederick and now Double-A Bowie in his first full season.

He's left a string of frustrated hitters in his wake.

"It's been shocking," Gamboa said. "Coming up to High-A, I was just hoping I would do well and stay on the team.

"As things kept going smooth, it starts popping in your head, but we only have two and half weeks left in the season. I wanted to finish strong here and hopefully try to make the Double-A team in spring training.

"I'm happy the opportunity came sooner."

Gamboa earned the opportunity with some jaw-dropping numbers.

Between Delmarva and Frederick, Gamboa posted a combined 10-0 record with a 1.26 ERA in 71 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.

Gamboa was expected to pitch in relief on Thursday night, but Bowie's game was rained out.

As the new guy in the bullpen, Gamboa has had to keep his guard up.

His teammates tried to catch him sleeping with the old "gum on the hat trick" on Tuesday night.

"They didn't get me," Gamboa said. "It's not my first rodeo. They tried, but I was ready for it."

Gamboa knows the competition level will jump up with the move. He'll be facing players who have been playing professional baseball for four or five years.

"From what I hear, it's the biggest jump," Gamboa said. "I'm ready for it.

"This year has led me here and this is where I want to be. This is what I've been working for all year."

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at sjansen@mercedsun-star.com.

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