BRADENTON, Fla. – Buck Showalter hasn’t taken Brian Roberts, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters or Chris Davis on the road. For now, Travis Ishikawa, Jason Pridie, Trayvon Robinson and Chris Dickerson will do just fine.
On a chilly night at McKechnie Field, the Orioles improved their record to 9-2-1, the best among Florida-based teams with a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates before 6,353 on Friday.
For most games away from Sarasota, Showalter has been trotting out lineups packed with mostly second-line and non-roster hopefuls. Nolan Reimold and Manny Machado are the most noted players to go on the bus, and for the 20-year-old third baseman, it’s more of a rite of passage.
Showalter indicated that he’d take a lineup that looked a lot like this one to Fort Myers on Saturday night to face the Boston Red Sox. Perhaps later in spring training, some of the others will get to travel.
This lineup is doing just fine.
Conor Jackson, whose power has impressed this week was left home, but former Pirate Steve Pearce came along and had another hit to boost his average to .533.
Travis Ishikawa, Jason Pridie and Trayvon Robinson each had RBIs. Lew Ford had a home run.
The Orioles had 11 hits, each by a different player.
Wei-Yin Chen made his second start and allowed two runs, one unearned, in 2 1/3 innings. Sterling Marte led off for Pittsburgh, stole second and advanced to third on backup catcher Jose Gil’s throwing error and scored on a sacrifice fly.
“He’s in a good spot. His arm feels good. He feels good physically, and I like where he is,” Showalter said.
Chen struck out four and walked two.
“I'm definitely on my schedule right now. Spring training is just about
like adjustments, so I'm still working on that. There are a lot of things I need to adjust," Chen said through his translator.
He won’t be a surprise to his opponents. This year, and he’s fully confident that he’ll be ready for 2013.
“Definitely, I feel it's going to be a good year for me," Chen said.
Tommy Hunter allowed a run in 1 2/3 innings, Brian Matusz gave up two hits in two innings, Daniel Schlereth gave up an unearned run on minor league catcher Caleb Joseph’s passed ball, and Troy Patton finished with two scoreless innings. Patton now has three straight scoreless innings.
“He feels good physically. Tonight was a good opportunity,” Showalter said.
-Nick Markakis, who was scratched last Sunday with neck spasms, has had a minor setback. He was supposed to play next Sunday against Pittsburgh, but he’ll be held out, Showalter said.
-The Orioles play the Boston Red Sox at Fort Myers on Saturday night. Dylan Bundy will start. Kevin Gausman will follow, and Zach Clark, Mike Belfiore, Todd Redmond and T.J. McFarland are also scheduled. Felix Dubront, Terry Doyle, Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Miller are the Red Sox pitchers.