Drese on Drese (updated)

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Jason Berken threw two scoreless innings, retiring the last five batters he faced. He allowed two hits and struck out three.

Josh Rupe followed with a 1-2-3 sixth inning. He’s allowed two unearned runs and seven hits in 12 2/3 innings.

J.J. Hardy is 2-for-3 with an RBI double. Brian Roberts is 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk.

Update: Vladimir Guerrero broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning with a two-run homer to left field off Cesar Ramos. It was a screaming line drive into the berm beyond the fence. Guerrero is batting .345 with five homers and 17 RBIs. Derrek Lee opened the inning with a walk.

Rupe threw another scoreless inning. That’s 13 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

Ryan Drese received a visit from head athletic trainer Richie Bancells in the second inning after almost losing his grip on the ball and having to interrupt his delivery. He bounced the next pitch, which led to a quick mound conference that included pitching coach Mark Connor.

“I don’t know what happened,” Drese said. “My thumb slipped off the ball somehow and I felt a little tingling in my hand. I was trying to stretch it out and it just went away. I threw a ball down in the dirt and I think that led them to see if it was bothering me, but I told them it was fine. It went away after that first pitch.”

Drese said he has a verbal agreement with team officials that allows him to opt out of his contract if he doesn’t make the club. He’s not looking that far down the road.

“I’m not even thinking about that right now,” he said. “I feel really good and that’s the important thing for me, being out for a while. Just coming back and getting consistent work.”

The Orioles must set their opening night roster by Thursday afternoon, and Drese has no idea whether he’ll be on it. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since making two starts for the Nationals in 2006, so he came to camp as a long shot.

“I’m sure hoping my name is called, whether it’s starting or relieving,” said Drese, who has an 8.59 ERA in 14 2/3 innings. “Nobody’s heard anything yet. It’s going to come down to the last few days. It may even come down to the intrasquad game we play (Wednesday). Still hoping, and hopefully get one more shot out there. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”

As for today’s performance, Drese said, “Leading off the game, I throw a pitch to (Ben) Zobrist down and away and he hits an opposite-field homer. You’ve got to tip your hat there. It was a good piece of hitting. Other than that, I thought I threw some good pitches. The only really bad pitch I thought I threw was to B.J. Upton with two strikes. I left the ball up and over the plate and he hit it for the longest single ever. But other than that, I felt good.”

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