Comments from Arrieta and Miller, Ward facing suspension (Baker homers)

BRADENTON, Fla. - The downpour has ended, the sun is shining and the tarp is off the field.

Yes, we’re in Florida.

This game will resume in the top of the seventh inning with the Pirates leading the Orioles, 6-5.

Jake Arrieta said he felt good out of the stretch and in his windup today. It’s the final line that looks pretty bad.

Arrieta allowed six runs and eight hits in five innings. He threw 82 pitches, 55 for strikes.

“Stuff was pretty good,” he said. “Two real bad changeups were hit out. I was pounding the zone early in the game and they were just coming out of their shoes on fastballs. Gave up a few hits, but it was all right. It wasn’t great.

“I was pretty upset with my changeup. Wasn’t really good at all today. The two homers were off changeups. But command was good, everything was pretty good.

“Some misses were up. I was pulling a couple of pitches out of the zone, but mechanically my body feels great. Out of the stretch I felt really good and was able to command the ball and still be quick to the plate. So that was really all I was trying to do today.”

Arrieta has no idea when he’ll pitch again. The opener at Camden Yards on April 6 is a good possibility, but he hasn’t received official word.

Arrieta is ready for whenever he’s handed the ball, no matter how many runs were allowed today.

“Pitch count is up,” he said. “All of my pitches are pretty crisp besides the changeup. Still have to work on that, but if I can just keep that pitch down and throw it when I’m ahead in the count, I’ll still have success with it. But I still need to work on that a little bit. But mechanically with nobody on and runners on base I feel great, and that’s really what I wanted to get out of spring.”

Outfielder Jai Miller is expected to be a late cut, the final position player removed from the camp roster. If that’s the case, he’s going out with a bang.

Miller, who missed significant time with tendinitis in his right knee, homered and drove in another run with a single in the first six innings.

“You know, can’t really show anybody anything not playing and being hurt, so I definitely wanted to get back in there and get some at-bats. Just get that timing and show what I can do and then on the flip side make sure that I go into the season ready to go,” he said.

As for what happens next, he said, “I can’t really control that. I can just go out and play hard and whatever decision is made, that’s what decision is made that’s best for the team. If it’s for me, great. If it’s not, it’s just one of those things you have to keep working and get back. Whatever decision goes, all I have to do is just go out and play hard and everything will take care of itself.”

Miller already has been outrighted during his career, so he could refuse another assignment and become a free agent.

According to industry sources, Single-A Frederick catcher Brian Ward is facing a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy.

Ward, who was invited to spring training before being reassigned to minor league camp on March 11, batted .254/.339/.382 with 22 doubles, seven homers and 32 RBIs in 104 games at Frederick.

Ward threw out 52.6 percent of runners attempting to steal last season and is widely regarded as the organization’s top defensive catcher.

Orioles officials declined comment on the suspension.

Here’s a story that’s Steve Melewski wrote about Ward in September.

Game update: Aaron Baker, obtained from the Pirates last summer for Derrek Lee, just hit a long home run leading off the eighth inning. Orioles 6, Pirates 6.

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