By Eduardo A. Encina, The Baltimore Sun
4:18 PM PST, March 8, 2012
SARASOTA, Fla. —
Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel graded out his first Grapefruit League outing with his new team Thursday afternoon — in which he tossed a pair of scoreless innings in a 2-1 win over the Atlanta Braves at Ed Smith Stadium — as a "B, C-plus."
Hammel, acquired from the Rockies last month in the trade that send Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado, initially struggled with his control against the Braves, walking leadoff hitter Luis Durango on four pitches, but rebounded to strike out Martin Prado and inducted a pop-up to short from Freddie Freeman.
He then overcame back-to-back one-out singles in the second inning by inducing a 4-6-3 double-play ball from third baseman Joey Terdoslavich.
"Honestly, for the first time out, considering all things, the results were good," Hammel said, "I struggled with the fastball, I was a little erratic today. That was my goal, just to work on fastball command. First inning was good, second inning was a little shady. [I'm] working through some stressful times already. I was hoping that would come a little bit later.
"At the beginning of camp, my main objective is to get fastball command. Today, mechanically I was off. Running away from the ball a little bit, basically, upper half was a little too quick, but that's an easy fix."
Hammel — who began last year in the Rockies' starting rotation but was sent to the bullpen in late August before finishing the year off with two quality spot starts — hopes to build off his late-season success.
"Instead of thinking what not to do and thinking about mistakes that I could have made, it was more or less to do what I want to do, and do what I can do," Hammel said. "To simplify all that, basically I was pitching to the hitter instead of the glove. I was trying to pitch not to contact, and that got me in trouble for a couple months last year and they ended up putting me in the 'pen. The change of focus was to just get back into the glove, and that's what I did today and we got a couple more goose eggs. So, I'm very proud of that."
Accident sidelines Ohlman
Catcher Michael Ohlman, who was involved in an automobile accident Tuesday that injured his right shoulder, is out for the rest of spring training, manager Buck Showalter said.
Showalter said results of an MRI on Ohlman's shoulder showed damage. He wouldn't specify what the injury was but said that is was serious enough that Ohlman was seeking a second opinion from team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens before he and his family decided whether to rehabilitate the injury or have surgery.
While driving from Tuesday's workout, Ohlman's truck was overturned and landed on its roof. He crawled out of his truck under his own power but was taken to a local hospital, where a CT scan came back normal.
Ohlman was called up to big league camp to fill the catching void left when nonroster invitee Ronny Paulino was delayed by work-visa problems. Paulino still hasn't arrived in camp, but the Orioles also brought in minor leaguer Caleb Joseph, so Ohlman was heading to minor league camp soon.
Minor leaguer arrested
Minor league pitcher Ryan O'Shea was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of driving under the influence in Siesta Key, according to a Sarasota County Sherriff's Office arrest affidavit obtained by The Baltimore Sun.
O'Shea, 25, who pitched at Single-A Frederick last season, was pulled over at 4:23 Wednesday afternoon for a seat-belt violation. The arresting officer smelled a strong scent of alcohol on O'Shea's breath, the report said. O'Shea, who initially told the officer he hadn't been drinking, failed a series of on-site sobriety tests.
Twenty-one minutes after the stop, O'Shea was administered two Breathalyzer tests, which registered blood-alcohol levels of .074 and .072, the affidavit said. Florida's legal limit is .08.
Another Orioles minor leaguer, pitcher Clayton Schrader, was in the passenger seat. He was not cited.
O'Shea, a 27th-round selection in 2008 by the Orioles, was 3-6 with a 3.09 ERA in 25 games (eight starts) with Frederick last season. He owns a career 20-23 record with a 3.53 ERA in 94 career appearances over four years.
Backed by another superb pitching performance, the Orioles won their second straight Grapefruit League game.
Right fielder Jai Miller had two of the Orioles' six hits — a second-inning double and an RBI single that tied the game at 1 in the seventh inning. Miller is hitting 3-for-7 in Grapefruit League play (.429) and leads the team in extra-base hits (two) and RBIs (four).
Substitute third baseman Steve Tolleson made what might have been a game-saving defensive play in the eighth, snagging Ernesto Mejia's drive into the hole and starting a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play with the bases loaded and the game tied.
"Very quietly, Steve has had a really good spring," Showalter said. "He's been solid."
Center fielder Xavier Avery's sacrifice fly scored the game's winning run two batters after Joseph's leadoff double in the eighth inning.
Braves left fielder Eric Hinske homered off left-hander Zach Phillips in the top of the seventh, breaking a streak of 16 scoreless innings by Orioles pitching. Kevin Gregg, Darren O'Day, Pedro Strop, Miguel Socolovich and Troy Patton each threw scoreless inning for the Orioles.
Around the horn
With Internet rumors swirling that the Orioles still have interest in 38-year-old free agent Johnny Damon, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette was asked whether there's any truth to the rumor as he passed by a group of reporters. "I don't think so," Duquette said with a smile. "I already signed Johnny when he was 28." … Right-hander Jake Arrieta is scheduled to start in Friday's road game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Right-hander Brad Bergesen is also slated to pitch. … Nonroster invitee Nick Johnson is slated to make his first start at first base Friday. … Tsuyoshi Wada (left elbow discomfort) will throw another bullpen session from a full mound Friday. Showalter said he's not slated to pitch in Sunday's "B" game, which will include Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton, Jim Johnson, Dylan Bundy and Willie Eyre. Hunter is scheduled to throw three innings, and the others are slated to throw one inning each. … The Orioles will collect nonperishable canned goods as well as monetary donations during Sunday's game against the Boston Red Sox to benefit the All Faiths Food Bank.
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