Orioles starter Brad Bergesen allowed two runs on eight hits over five innings this afternoon against the Rays. His line was much improved from his previous spring performances and Bergesen was happy with his progression overall this spring.
Here’s what he had to say about the outing.
[on how he felt]
“I was much more pleased with how I worked my fastball. More down in the zone, when I was missing, I was missing down rather than up, right over the plate. That was positive. The slider wasn’t there for me. Need to work on it. I talked to [pitching coach Mark Connor] afterward and there are a couple adjustments we want to make with that but as far as overall feeling, I felt better with the previous adjustments I made. My mechanics felt a little more natural today.”
[on it being a relief to see a better line]
“Absolutely. Early on, I think some of you guys stressed a little bit (with the results), but it really is getting our work in early on. Not worried about the results, not panicking, but as we do get closer to the season, like we are, for me it is nice to have the results there and to try to keep going now into the season and carry that through.”
[on retiring Manny Ramirez to end the fifth with the bases loaded]
”That’s a test I would always like to pass there. The guy is a future Hall of Famer. Again, it is only spring training, you are not too excited or, if things don’t go right, you are not too down. But to get in that situation and do damage control early, like I did, and getting in a situation like that and being able to get out of it, could help confidence at this point.”
Here’s what manager Buck Showalter had to say about Bergesen…
“He had some counts in his favor and couldn’t quite finish it off,” Showalter said. “He had 0-2 count, two outs and nobody on and gave up one and borderline two runs. I’d like to see, when he gets himself in some good counts, and not necessarily strike the guy out, but make a quality pitches.
There were some firm balls hit off him today. Hopefully, we’re getting there. I thought his plane was a little better. I’ve seen him more crisp, which is normal. He’ll get the ball at least a couple more times and we’ll see where we are with it.”
*Derrek Lee fouled a ball off his left foot during his first plate appearance on Saturday, and he’s not likely to play Sunday. An X-ray and MRI did show positive results, more info on that here.
*Brian Roberts will get 2-3 at bats today in his first spring game since March 7.
*Zach Britton will throw Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees with Chris Tillman making a Minor League start. The O’s would prefer to give Britton –who has yet to make a Major League start– more experience in a bigger arena and it’s also his turn since he threw to Class A players the last time out.
*Several relievers will go to Twin Lakes to pitch today: Adrian Rosario, Rick VandenHurk, Jeremy Accardo and Jim Johnson.
*Koji Uehara will pitch in a Minor League game on Tuesday. The team would prefer to control the setting in his first time out, which is why he’s pitching in a Minors game.
*There will be a third round of cuts on Wednesday or Thursday.
Brian Roberts 2B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Luke Scott DH
Mark Reynolds 3B
Felix Pie LF
Jake Fox 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Craig Tatum C
Brad Bergesen RHP
Orioles first baseman Derrek Lee was not in Sunday’s starting lineup and wasn’t likely to play at all in the O’s contest in Port Charlotte after fouling a ball off his left foot Saturday afternoon.
Lee had an X-ray on his foot Saturday night and there was an area that the doctors
were concerned about so Lee had an MRI Sunday morning, which came back OK. Manger Buck Showalter didn’t rule out Lee playing in Sunday’s game, although it’s not likely.
Jake Fox, who was scheduled to play first base instead, would move to catcher in that scenario.
Lee injured his foot during his first swing in Saturday’s first plate appearance, which was also his Grapefruit League debut. Lee eventually walked off Phillies starter Cole Hamels. He remained in the game for 4 1/2 innings and said afterward that his right wrist and thumb both felt “great”.
Lee had offseason surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and most recently had been sidelined by tendinitis in his wrist. Saturday was his first spring game and Showalter said if Lee did not play on Sunday the team would hope to get him some Minor League at-bats in Monday’s game, which is a scheduled off day for the big league club. Right now, it’s too early to tell what his timetable might be.
There were times Orioles starter Jake Arrieta looked really good, and there were times on Saturday when he struggled to execute and was slow from the stretch.
“Stuff -wise he was in pretty good shape,” manager Buck Showalter said of Arrieta who was charged with four runs on four hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. “He’s going to have to increase his tempo from the stretch. [It's] something he got a lot better at last year. But what happens a lot of time, they come in here [in camp] and they are working so much on just pitching.”
Arrieta said it’s something he will focus on this upcoming week and is confident he can minimize the jump that baserunners are getting on first base. The Phillies had two stolen bases when Arrieta was on the mound.
“We’ve seen he’s capable of doing it,” Showalter said of Arrieta speeding up that part of his game. “He’s a real athletic young man. He will get better at it. It shouldn’t be where we have to give a sign that says be quicker to the plate.”
Arrieta walked the first two batters in the fifth and exited one out later. He was charged with four runs, although two of those runs came after on Shane Victorino’s homer off reliever Clay Rapada. Arrieta threw 48 of 79 pitches for strikes on Saturday and was most unhappy about John Mayberry Jr’s second-inning home run.
“I did a really poor job of execution there,” Arrieta said. “[I] pulled a lot of pitches out of the zone, didn’t throw a breaking ball for a strike and ended up having to throw him a fastball that caught too much of the plate. He put a good swing on it. Other than that, the two walks in the fifth, You just can’t walk the eight and nine hitters. You can’t do it, but that’s something I am not too worried about. I know that my command has gotten a lot better and I have been really able situations like that for the most part.
Take those three things out and I think there are a lot of positives in there.”
Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is tentatively scheduled to play Sunday’s game against the Rays in Port Charlotte.
Roberts — who was on the field taking batting practice pregame — has been sidelined by back spasms since March 7 and has been on a similar schedule to Derrek Lee, who made his Grapefriut League debut Saturday.
[The] plan is for [Lee] and Robby to play tomorrow over in Port Charlotte if everything goes well today,” manager Buck Showalter said prior to Saturday’s game.
“[We will] see how they are in the morning. It’s that time of year, I’m going to take most everybody over there [Saturday].”
The Orioles leadoff hitter, Roberts has played in four spring games and gone 3-for-12 (.308) at the plate. While there’s a chance both Lee and Roberts could play in Monday’s Minor League game, Showalter said right on he’s leaning against is.
“I’d rather give them that day,” Showalter said of the scheduled off day. “Keep in mind they haven’t been playing, but they’ve been conditioning, the whole nine yards forever. So I’d like to give them that day if they can. We will see how they feel.
They might get through that game [Sunday] and come in and say, ‘Hey I want to get some [more]at -bats. It’s a moving target.”
*Also Koji Uehara has a side today and if that goes well he could progress to the mound next.
The Orioles trimmed their spring roster by four today, optioning OF Matt Angle and INF Brandon Snyder to Triple-A Norfolk and Ryan Adams and RHP Armando Gabino to Minor League camp.
Adams will likely start the season with Double-A Bowie.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said as long as Derrek Lee feels good when he comes in Saturday morning, the first baseman will make his Grapefruit League debut. The plan is for Lee to get 2-3 at-bats. Lee has been taking swings in the cages the last few days, but Friday was the first day he hit on the back fields.
Brian Roberts isn’t that close yet, but Showalter said the second baseman came through his first live batting practice on Friday feeling fine. Also, Showalter had an “encouraging” talk with Justin Duchscherer, and they will work on a plan that gets him up on the hill.
Orioles starter Brian Matusz struck out eight batters and allowed one run — Matt Tolbert’s third-inning homer — over 4 2/3 innings.
Matusz threw 54 of 80 pitches for strikes, scattering six hits, and didn’t issue a walk in his fourth spring outing. He allowed the Twins leadoff man on once, in the second, but got back-to-back strikeouts of Brian Dinkelman and Jason Repko. Following Steve Holm’s two-out double, Matusz got No. 9 batter Trevor Plouffe on an infield pop-up.
In 12 1/3 spring innings, Matusz has 13 strikeouts and he said afterwards that Friday’s outing was the best he’s felt all spring. Here’s the rest of what he had to say….
[on his outing]
“I had a good rhythm and a good delivery. And that’s the ultimate goal to get in that rhythm so you’re ready for the season. Today was the first time out there I really had that this spring and it felt good. It felt really good. I was throwing all my pitches, it’s the best my changeup’s been in a while. I threw a couple good sliders.”
“The only play I could think of that I wish I could have back was that bunt [in the first inning]. I kind of slipped off the mound, didn’t get a good jump on it. Those are the things you work on pfp all the time out there on the other fields and it happens in the game you got to react right away. I had a bad jump, slipped a little bit.”
[on seeing results in his pitching line]
“It’s huge. It’s confidence. It’s everything. I’m right on track. I’m working hard, I’m trying to get my delivery back towards having a good groove. I don’t believe I walked a guy, and that’s important too. I got to a couple three-ball counts and I was able to just make pitches. And not give out free passes. It’s huge. I’m finally getting in a groove.”
[on his mechanical adjustments coming together]
“It felt natural today because everything was working together. I had that good flow, that consistent groove to where I’m not yanking or jerking my body or anything like that. So that’s the ultimate goal. To get in that groove where you feel it on every pitch and it’s consistent. I feel like I made huge strides in these last few days to get there.”
[on OD being close]
“It’s time to really get in that groove and feel it and start stepping it up a little bit. Take that next level. It’s nice to have that outing today. And it doesn’t stop here, it’s going to continue every day. Just got to keep working, understanding that feel and keep it going. Keep it going.”
Thought it’s be easier to put this all in one place, so here’s some pitching tidbits and upcomings for you…
Koji Uehara will throw on Saturday, and the team will
have a better idea of when he can get into a game after that…Kevin Gregg
pitched two innings in a Triple-A game and allowed a home run, although manager Buck
Showalter described it as “wind-aided”……The Orioles are leaning
toward towards Zach Britton making Tuesday’s start against the Yankees.
Britton and Chris Tillman are on the same turn, so one of them will have
to pitch in a Minor League game. Jeremy Guthrie will throw to the
Twins’ Triple-A squad on Monday’s scheduled off day to stay on turn. Several other O’s relievers could throw on Monday as well.
Here’s the weekend’s pitching matchups:
Saturday: Jake Arrieta vs. LH Cole Hamels
Sunday: Brad Bergesen vs RHP Jeff Niemann
Justin Duchscherer threw from 100 feet on flat ground on Thursday and planned on doing it again on Friday. He said he is dealing with some tightness in his left hip and is just trying to stretch things out. He’s also not overly concerned about only pitching two innings this spring.
Duchscherer is still targeting being ready come Opening Day and being a part of the O’s rotation. Here’s what he had to say…
[on his rotation spot being in peril]
“I can only do what I can do. Obviously that’s not my goal. I don’t want to be in this position right now. But all I can do is go in get my treatment, get my stretching and do whatever I can to get myself where I feel good enough to go pitch. Once I’m out there I feel like that stuff will take care of itself. I know what I can do as long as I take the field. I just got to get out there.”
[on if he has a goal in mind]
“Yeah, I want to be ready by Opening Day. I feel like, I mean last year I only threw 13 innings in spring training and I started the season [with Oakland] just fine. So, as long as I’m healthy I feel like I’ll be out there and ill compete.”