Fox trots

BRADENTON, Fla. - The Orioles pushed across three runs against left-hander Joe Beimel in the top of the eighth to increase their lead to 12-3. Matt Angle had an RBI single. Nick Green and Brendan Harris drove in runs with ground balls.

Robert Andino's RBI triple in the eighth upped the lead to 13-3. Pirates right fielder Miles Durham crashed into the fence and had to leave the game after staying down for several minutes.

Matt Wieters has four hits to raise his average from .207 to .294.

What slump?

Josh Bell has struck out three times. He's also singled and walked. You know the rest of his day.

Jake Fox's first home run today came on a slider from Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf. He homered again off reliever Scott Olsen. Not sure about the pitch.

One reporter jokingly asked Fox if he's pressing. I told him that we were waiting until his second ball landed before talking to him.

"I was actually a little nervous," he said. "I thought I hit it too high, but I guess I got enough."

Fox's seven home runs lead all hitters this spring.

"I feel like right now I'm still missing some good pitches," he said, "but I'm feeling good at the plate and I feel like I'm seeing the ball. I think half the battle is seeing the ball at the plate, because everybody works on their swing enough that if you see a good pitch, you're going to put a good swing on it.

"At this point, I'm trying to leave no doubt that I should be a part of this team and that I should be a daily part of this team, and coming into spring training, that was the biggest thing I wanted to prove. I know what I'm capable of doing, but I don't think they do, and I wanted to show them exactly what I could bring to this team and bring to this lineup. From there, it's kind of out of my control."

Fox downplayed the competition with Craig Tatum for the backup catcher's job.

"He and I are on the same page from the standpoint where I don't necessarily think it's a battle for the backup position. I think Buck (Showalter) is going to take the best 13 position players he has," Fox said.

"I don't necessarily think there's a direct competition between Craig and I. I feel like it's more of a competition for the four spots on the bench. And whether it's six or seven or eight of us fighting for four jobs on the bench, I don't necessarily feel like it's a direct competition between the two of us. I feel like it's more of a broad competition for the last four jobs."

Fox could end up with a utility job. He'd rather play every day, but he'll gladly accept a spot on the 25-man roster, especially as he's adapted to life as a reserve.

"My whole career has been an uphill battle," he said. "I feel like I've been fighting against athleticism, lack of position, take your pick. Because I think I've been labeled since an early time in my career, it's been hard to get out of that label.

"It took me a while last year to realize, OK, this is my job. Instead of trying to show them I can be an everyday player, I have to go out and do my job, especially if I want to keep my job. And that's one of the reasons why [Oakland] sent me over. I just wasn't getting that job done. So I came over here last year and it was a fight just to get my swing back.

"I've always been straightforward with Buck and he's always been straightforward with me. And he knows that at some point (he wants to be an everyday player.) Right now, that's not where I fit in with this team. I know I'm going to be a role player, and he knows I'm going to show up and do that role to the best of my ability every day. But at some point down the road, hopefully, I'm showing him that I can go out and play every day and be a part of an everyday team."

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