TAMPA, Fla. - Pat Neshek retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, striking out two batters in the Orioles’ 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees.
Neshek hasn’t allowed a run in nine spring outings. He’s allowed three hits, walked none and struck out eight in 8 1/3 innings.
“He’s getting his confidence in his arm back,” manager Buck Showalter said of Neshek, who missed the 2009 season after undergoing ligament-reconstructive surgery in his right elbow. “I know how excited he was the other night when he hit 90 for the first time in a while.”
When I suggested to Showalter that it would be hard to make room for Neskek the way his bullpen is constructed, he replied, “There are always ways. Always ways.
“There’s a reason why he’s still here. If we didn’t think there was a way and a possibility between now and the 4th, he wouldn’t be here.
“I like what we’ve seen from him. I’m glad we took a chance with him.”
Nick Markakis played seven innings in right field tonight.
“He feels good,” Showalter said.
Matt Wieters hit a rare triple and apparently had some fun with it in the dugout.
“He’s one of the funniest guys you’ll ever want to meet,” Showalter said. “Some of the things he said the next inning ... I wrote them down in my book.”
A reminder that J.J. Hardy and Endy Chavez return to the lineup on Friday. Left-hander Brian Matusz gets the start against the Tigers. Kevin Gregg, Matt Lindstrom and Jim Johnson also are scheduled to pitch.
Johnson will go back-to-back for the first time this spring when he also pitches on Saturday.