SARASOTA, Fla. - Jeremy Guthrie wanted to increase his pitch count, work on his stuff and maintain it through six innings.
He had a productive day.
Guthrie, expected to take the ball for the April 1 opener, allowed one run and recorded 20 outs over six innings against a Twins Triple-A team.
"I enjoyed building up again and trying to get six innings, which we did. I was working on the execution of pitches, working on a couple of sequences," he said.
"I felt a lot better today. I felt strong throughout the outing. That was good to throw 81 or 82 (pitches) and feel the same consistently throughout the outing."
Guthrie said he continued to work on the same pitches.
"I've never really focused on [one]. I'll throw one pitch maybe a couple of more times, but I'll never go into the outing saying, 'I'm going to work on a bunch of these.' I try to mix it into the routine of getting people out, try to figure out how it plays it in the game," he said.
Guthrie felt strong throughout his 82-pitch outing.
"That was important to me, to not feel tired in the last innings," he said. "I didn't feel that today where the last game in the fifth inning, I felt like I had thrown more pitches than I had. That's good. That means the body is getting built up and prepared to hopefully work deep into the games.
"I don't have like a log of how I exactly feel or where I should exactly be, but I know I feel comfortable with my pitches, the execution of them. And today the third component is I feel like the stamina and strength are there to maintain the feel for those pitches late in the game. I've got one more shot to do it. Then we'll start the regular season."
Guthrie faced another minor league team in his last start, but he could be matched up with major league hitters this weekend. His next turn falls on Saturday, when the Orioles travel to Port Charlotte again to play the Rays. However, manager Buck Showalter will probably avoid pairing Guthrie against a team that the right-hander will face to begin the season.
Guthrie could gain an extra days' rest and pitch against the Blue Jays Sunday in a split-squad game in Dunedin. The alternative is having him face the Red Sox on that same day in Sarasota, but the Orioles play Boston three times in April. They don't see Toronto until June.
"That would be a more likely scenario," Guthrie said of pitching against the Blue Jays. "I have to talk to Buck and Goose (Mark Connor) and figure out what the exact plan is, but obviously that would be a more likely scenario than pitching five days from now against Tampa."