Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel goes five innings in minor league game in final spring start

SARASOTA, Fla. -- In his final spring outing,



Jason Hammel

, who will likely be the team's Opening Day starter, threw five innings against the

Tampa Bay Rays

' Single-A minor leaguers on the back fields of Ed Smith Stadium.

Hammel allowed three runs -- all earned -- and three hits, striking out six and walking three. Unofficially, he threw 76 pitches, 47 strikes.

He initially struggled through a 23-pitch first inning that was ended after just two outs, but he overwhelmed hitters with his fastball-changeup-curveball combo as the outing progressed.

Because the Orioles' Grapefruit League schedule has been heavy on American League East opponents, most of Hammel’s spring outings have been in minor-league or simulated games. He's appeared in just two Grapefruit League games, the most recent on March 7 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In those games, Hammel allowed just one run and six hits in four innings. Those were both two-inning stints, so he's built up his innings and pitch counts while working on his pitches against minor league competition.

The Orioles will play Double-A and Triple-A level games at the Ed Smith Stadium complex again tomorrow. Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen will pitch in one of those games in his final spring start.

Cuban defector Henry Urrutia also played in the Single-A game, starting the day 0-for-2 with a strikeout.