SARASOTA, Fla. - No sign of Adam Jones in the clubhouse this morning following Team USA’s elimination last night in the World Baseball Classic. Manager Buck Showalter had indicated that he would give Jones a few days off.
Chris Tillman will throw two innings today at Twin Lakes Park, his first game action since being scratched from his last start because of abdominal soreness. He hasn’t pitched since he allowed two runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings on March 3 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Miguel Gonzalez said he threw 65 pitches in four innings yesterday against the Boston Red Sox’s Triple-A team at Twin Lakes Park. Showalter wanted Gonzalez in a controlled environment to ensure that the right-hander would exceed the two innings he totaled in each of his first two games. Get the innings up, get the pitch count up.
“Just working on stuff I needed to work on, so that was pretty good, going down there and not having any issues or anything like that. I felt good,” he said.
Gonzalez said he mainly concentrated on his off-speed stuff.
“My split’s coming back pretty good and my slider, as well,” he said.
“I feel good. I wish I could have thrown more innings the last time I went out there, but that’s why they told me to go down there and work on things that I needed to work on. I felt pretty good after that.”
Gonzalez knew a few of Boston’s Triple-A players from his time spent in the organization.
“That was kind of fun playing against them,” he said.
Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland retired all nine batters he faced in yesterday’s 3-3 tie with the Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium. He got seven ground balls, one fly ball and a strikeout.
McFarland has allowed one run in his last three appearances covering 6 1/3 innings, the improvement coming after pitching coach Rick Adair made an adjustment to the southpaw’s delivery.
“It’s a small, little thing,” McFarland said. “Earlier in camp, I was looking at video and Rick was telling me that my hips weren’t really getting toward the plate. They were going toward first base,” McFarland said. “I had to kind of adjust and move my hips more toward the plate so I could get through the ball, where before, the ball was leaking or I was throwing it way outside. Now, I’m getting the action that I normally get on the plate as opposed to it being a ball.
“Those are tough things. You can’t really make those adjustments on the mound. That would be a pretty good adjustment if you could do it while you were doing your outing. It was just a minor thing we worked on in the ‘pen and it’s been working. Small, little adjustment, but it’s been working.”
Tsuyoshi Wada, as Showalter pointed out earlier this week, has progressed to working on other pitches besides his fastball, getting game-ready and finding ways to retire hitters. It’s no longer about proving that he’s recovered from Tommy John surgery last May.
“I’ve started throwing some breaking balls, too, during my bullpen session,” Wada said through his interpreter. “The first few bullpens, it was more close to a rehab standpoint. Now, I’m feeling it’s going to be more concentrated on how to get batters out.
“I’m going to start working on the command on my pitches and start thinking about my velocity. I feel like I’m on my next stage now. I’m not in a rush or anything, but I would like to keep on improving and getting closer to getting up to the big leagues.”
This is terrific news for the Orioles, who have been waiting for Wada to pitch for them. He could start the season on the 60-day disabled list and be ready to join them by the beginning of June.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “As of now, I’m only throwing change-ups, but I’ll probably start throwing other breaking balls as time goes along. And I’ll start throwing in (simulated) games and getting closer to the actual game situations, so I’m excited about the progress that I’ve made.”
Today’s game: Steve Melewski is covering the game in Dunedin today, so check his blog on MASNsports.com for updates. I’ve been there twice this spring. I shouldn’t have all the fun.