SARASOTA, Fla. — In an otherwise meaningless exhibition against an obviously undermanned Spain
He found work for relievers
"I'm pretty sure we'll pick our spots with them," Showalter said. "I don't think you'll see them pitch on the same day all the time. We'll see. I am going to treat each one of them a little differently. … We'll be careful with it. All of them. We have a long time down here left. A long time."
Ayala, O'Day and Johnson each pitched one inning in the 19-7 victory over Spain at Ed Smith Stadium. Ayala allowed two hits and no runs while striking out a batter, O'Day gave up two runs on three hits and Johnson allowed a triple and an unearned run while striking out a batter.
"I was actually pretty good on my in and out; my up and down was a little bit off," said Johnson, who notched a franchise-record 51 saves last season. "I threw one good breaking ball, I kind of surprised myself. I threw a couple of decent changeups. So [with] everything I got out of it, I felt good today, and that's all that really matters."
Johnson was limited last spring because of a back issue, and the Orioles want to make sure they keep their bullpen's anchor fresh and healthy as they move toward Opening Day. Johnson said he already has established a tentative schedule with pitching coach Rick Adair that will allow him to hit all pitching tests before the regular season.
"We got it set up that I will do a little bit of everything. I will do back-to-back [outings], maybe an inning-plus or something like that," Johnson said. "We kind of have it all laid out as to where we are going to finish so that we're ready."
Different results for
Two of the candidates for the Orioles' fifth starter's spot pitched against Spain on Wednesday.
Right-hander Jake Arrieta, pitching in his third game of the spring, allowed three hits and one unearned run in three innings. He walked one and struck out two while throwing a fairly economical 45 pitches (27 strikes). It was a big improvement on his last outing in which he allowed three runs in 1 2/3 against the
"Sometimes throughout the week before a start, a light bulb will go off. Whether it's something small mechanically in the bullpen or something you are doing on a certain pitch to kind of help you progress and be more consistent with that pitch," Arrieta said. "And that's happened over the past couple bullpens. I've had two real good sides leading into this game. So, things are really starting to tighten up."
Lefty Zach Britton threw two innings and struggled some with his command, allowing four hits, one walk, two wild pitches and three earned runs in two innings. Afterward, Showalter said he's not putting too much stock into the performances a week into March.
"I'm watching it, and if they feel good physically, that's good enough for me right now," he said.
Canzler leads rout
Russ Canzler's stats won't count, but he had an impressive day leading an Orioles offense that had 18 hits, nine walks and scored 19 runs in a three-hour, 40-minute marathon versus Spain.
Canzler, a corner infielder-outfielder who is battling for a bench job, had a three-run homer in the first inning and a two-run shot in the fourth while adding a sacrifice fly for a six-RBI game.
"That was a hitter friendly day, in more ways than one," Showalter said.
Around the horn
Showalter expects to make four to six roster cuts on Thursday. … The Orioles' pitching schedule for Saturday night against the