SARASOTA, Fla. - Brian Roberts doesn’t think about how he’s going to approach second base on a steal attempt. It just happens.
Roberts dived into the bag in the bottom of the first inning, as he normally does, for his first stolen base of the spring. He had singled with one out, his ninth hit in 25 at-bats.
The Orioles need to find out whether Roberts can withstand the pounding of playing second base and running the bases. The concussion symptoms returned in May 2011 after he dived into first base at Fenway Park.
Roberts says the symptoms are gone and he no longer thinks about them. He also has no restrictions after undergoing surgery in August 2012 to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, and four months later for a sports hernia.
Wilson Betemit singled with one out in the second inning, making him 3-for-20 this spring. His hit came after Red Sox left fielder Mitch Maier made a diving catch to rob J.J. Hardy, who’s 1-for-19.
Zach Britton retired the first six batters he faced before Maier led off the third with a single. Bryce Brentz reached with one out on third baseman Manny Machado’s error, but Britton got out of the jam with a bouncer to Machado and long fly ball to Nate McLouth in center field.
Machado could be excused for the miscue after his sensational play to rob Jackie Bradley, Jr. in the first. Machado ranged behind third base, well up the line, and made a perfect throw to first with his momentum carrying him into foul territory.
Britton has allowed one hit, struck out one batter and thrown 43 pitches, 32 for strikes. His fastball has been clocked at 90-92 mph.
Update: Britton issued both of his walks in the top of the fourth inning and exited with two outs. Zach Petersime stranded an inherited runner to keep the game scoreless.
Britton allowed one hit in 3 2/3 innings, with two walks and one strikeout. He threw 60 pitches, 41 for strikes, while working on three days’ rest.
This was Britton’s longest outing of the spring. He hadn’t gone more than two innings in any of his four previous appearances.
Pitching coach Rick Adair has returned to the Ed Smith Stadium complex after watching Miguel Gonzalez’s start at Twin Lakes Park. Adair just walked into the Orioles’ dugout.