Wada starts slow, finishes strong (with Chen note)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Tsuyoshi Wada threw 48 pitches and gave up four runs in the first two innings of his first Grapefruit League start. Troy Patton began warming in the third. Wada looked like he was headed for an early exit.

Instead, Wada retired the side in order with two strikeouts in the third. Patton replaced him to begin the fourth, causing Wada to fall one inning short of his intended limit.

Early, yes, but it could have been worse.

Wada threw 62 pitches, 38 for strikes. He allowed four runs and four hits, walked two and struck out three.

We can’t say that he’s moved past left-hander Brian Matusz in the competition for the fifth starter’s job.

Wada was billed as a strike-thrower coming out of Japan, but he had trouble locating the plate in the first two innings. He threw only 29 strikes among his 48 pitches and issued back-to-back walks in the second, when the Twins scored twice to take a 4-0 lead.

The first two batters reached against Wada in the top of the first when Denard Span singled and reached second on a fielder’s choice. Wada bounced a throw into second, but wasn’t charged with an error.

Joe Mauer lined out and Justin Morneau struck out, but Luke Hughes singled for a 1-0 lead.

The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the second. Pitching coach Rick Adair visited the mound, and Jamey Carroll lined Wada’s next offering into left field for a two-run double. Span scored on Mauer’s grounder to first.

Wada threw 30 pitches in the second inning, which shortened his stay on the mound. His fastball topped out at 90 mph. He was mostly in the 87-89 mph range.

The Orioles didn’t have a baserunner against Twins starter Anthony Swarzak until Ryan Flaherty walked with two outs in the third. Nolan Reimold flied to the warning track in left to end the inning.

Update: Patton retired the side in order in the fourth and threw all nine of his pitches for strikes. He hasn’t allowed a run in 9 1/3 innings. Chris Tillman replaced him in the fifth.

The Orioles still don’t have a hit through four innings. Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds walked with two outs in the fourth, forcing Swarzak out of the game.

Update II: Wei-Yin Chen, facing the Twins’ Triple-A team, faced 26 batters at Twin Lakes Park and allowed four runs and six hits, with two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 85 pitches, 50 strikes.

The Orioles still don’t have a hit as we enter the bottom of the seventh with the Twins leading, 5-0. They scored one run off Tillman in three innings. He allowed one run and three hits, and walked one batter.

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