FORT MYERS, Fla. - Trent Mummey hit a two-run homer today to complete the scoring in the Orioles’ 11-1 victory over the Twins at Hammond Stadium.
Dana Eveland gave up a hit and struck out two in a scoreless seventh inning. He tossed three perfect innings in his previous outing.
Chris Tillman struck out the side in the eighth in his shortest outing this spring - manager Buck Showalter wanted him to turn it loose for one inning - and Pat Neshek retired the side in order in the ninth.
Wei-Yin Chen allowed one run and four hits in five innings, with no walks and one strikeout. He threw 72 pitches in the game, and 10 more in the bullpen.
His best start of the spring?
Statistically, yes, but Chen knows he can do better.
“I feel like my command and location, there’s room to improve, and to work on my off-speed stuff,” Chen said through his interpreter.
“I feel like I’m average right now.”
Chen gave up two hits to Twins catcher Joe Mauer, including an RBI double in the first. Asked if he knew who Mauer was, Chen just shook his head.
Nolan Reimold couldn’t run down two fly balls to left field that went for doubles in the first inning. The wind appeared to be a factor.
“That’s my fault,” Chen said, “and this is just a game.”
In other words, don’t blame Reimold.
Asked if he’s eager for spring training to end, Chen replied, “First of all, I’m really excited for the season to start, but right now I only have 70 pitches today. I want to get more pitches for my next start or my next two starts, so I can get ready and maybe get in the rotation when the season starts.”
Chen is a candidate to start the April 6 opener, but he’s not concerned about it.
“Not really because this is my first year,” he said. “The only thing I want to do is the best for me and the best for the team. So right now, just do my best every day.”
Asked about Chen’s performance today, Showalter said, “Good, I thought he threw the ball well. It happens this time of year, these lineups get a little more formidable.”
Showalter seemed more impressed with Tillman.
“He struck out the side and he hit 96 about five times,” Showalter said. “That’s the best I have seen him throw in a long time. Attacked the strike zone. Sometimes, you put starters like Tommy Hunter, some of those guys, in a one-inning (situation) and see how hard he can go. That was one thing we wanted to see today.”
Xavier Avery went 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored.
“You see why everybody is so high on him,” Showalter said. “He can do a lot of things to help a club.”
Showalter mentioned the blustery conditions while critiquing Reimold in left field.
“Yeah, the way the wind was blowing across and back,” he said. “But I think you’ll see Nolan make one of those plays for sure as we go forward. I’ve been playing him a lot the last three days trying to catch up with him. But he’s fine. Nolan is going to be good.”
Jim Johnson walked a batter and struck out one in the sixth. His fastball was 89-91 mph.
“Little better,” Showalter said. “He’s getting there little by little. His command was better today. He’s going to get the ball a few more times here. Little by little.”
Back in Sarasota, Tsuyoshi Wada faced 13 hitters and recorded 10 outs against Boston’s Double-A team. He threw 46 pitches, 31 for strikes, and allowed one unearned run and two hits. He struck out two.
“The fastball felt better than it did last time, but if I had to chose, definitely the control felt better than last time. I had better control,” he told reporters through his interpreter.
“As long as I keep that ball down, I’m going to keep pitching to contact. That what I did in Japan, that’s what I did here today. I still think there is room for improvement with my fastball. That’s what I’m going to try to do the next time out.”
Wada says there’s still a chance he will be ready for the start of the season.
“But of course, it’s up to the manager. I’ll do whatever the manager says,” he said.
“They’re having me throw multiple innings, having me sit down and go back out there, keeping their eyes on pitch counts, so I think they’re looking at me as a starter, but I don’t know.”