Final thoughts on 4-3 victory

SARASOTA, Fla. - Michael Gonzalez breezed through the ninth inning to record the save in the Orioles’ 4-3 victory over the Red Sox at sold-out Ed Smith Stadium.

Manager Buck Showalter said he contacted Terry Francona before the game, after learning that the Boston manager was aggravated by his comments about general manager Theo Epstein that appear in the April edition of Men’s Journal.

“I talked to Terry a little bit before the game. I would be, too,” Showalter said.

“I just felt like I owed him a call. I know Terry and I like him a lot. I have a lot of respect for him.”

Told that Chris Tillman claims he’s made adjustments to his delivery, Showalter replied, “Do you see anything drastically different? In every camp in baseball, every pitcher is doing some things they tweak and kind of settle in. In the first four innings, he had two outs and nobody on, which was good, but he couldn’t close the inning. We got him slightly over 100 (pitches), which is about the spot we wanted to get today.”

Catcher Matt Wieters told me the changes are more related to quickening Tillman’s pace, not altering his actual mechanics.

We’ll find out in a few days whether Tillman has made the club or will be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

“We’ll sit down and convene,” Showalter said. “We have certain aspirations what he could be someday. It’s part of the process. He’s the second-youngest player in camp next to the Rule 5 draft (Adrian Rosario). We’ll sit down, talk about it, see what our options are.”

First-round pick Manny Machado batted in the eighth inning and grounded to short on a 2-1 pitch. The ball was fielded in the hole, and I thought Machado had a chance to beat it out. Didn’t happen.

Koji Uehara turned in a perfect inning.

“I’d almost forgotten he was here. No, I didn’t,” Showalter quipped. “Good thing to see him throwing the split and the slider. That’s a good sign.”

Uehara hadn’t faced major league hitters since Feb. 28 in Bradenton.

“I was concentrating on myself rather than the hitters. I wasn’t really thinking about that,” Uehara said through translator Jiwon Bang.

Asked whether he’ll be ready for the April 1 opener, he replied, “More than enough to be ready.”

Where’s his stuff at this point in camp?

“I need to work on that,” he replied. “I need to get there. I’m not there yet, but process-wise, I’m in a good place.”

Showalter made the following observation about Mark Reynolds, who went 1-for-4 today:

“The last three of four games, his two-strike approach has been really solid. It’s been fun to watch.”

Asked whether Brad Bergesen will pitch Tuesday, Showalter replied, “Right now, unless something changes, we’ll talk about it again. Take a work day on Tuesday. But that could change. See how he feels tomorrow. That work day could be in a game, too. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Kevin Gregg picked up the win today after allowing one hit, walking a batter and striking out one in the eighth inning.

We hadn’t seen Gregg in a while. He’s been pitching at the minor league camp.

“I talked to Buck, and Goose (Mark Connor) was talking about mechanically just getting back into a rhythm, back to where I need to be. I threw down there a couples times, and come back up here and throw. Hitters are hitters,” he said.

“I’m good. It’s a long year. You play 162, you’re not going to feel good all the time. I feel fine right now to start the season. I’m ready for the season to start. I’m kind of sick of being here.”

Asked more about his mechanics, Gregg said, “I was pretty much right there. I thought I threw the ball well. Located good. Apparently, they don’t want to call a strike on Big Papi. Whatever.”

Careful, Kevin. You don’t want that quote to appear in Men’s Journal and stir up another controversy.

In the other split-squad game, the Orioles lost to the Blue Jays, 9-5, in Dunedin. Toronto pounded out 20 hits.

Reading the tweets from The Sun’s Dan Connolly, it sounded like the defense was brutal. Robert Andino misplayed two balls in left field, and there were other mishaps.

Andino and Felix Pie each went 2-for-4, and Nick Green hit a two-run homer.

The next round of cuts are expected to come tomorrow.

Apparently, the forecast here calls for rain the next few days. The Orioles have two games left, both in Sarasota.

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