SARASOTA, Fla. - Manager Buck Showalter didn’t dispute the call from home plate umpire John Hirschbeck that allowed Tampa Bay’s Wil Myers to score in the ninth inning and break a 3-3 tie. Catcher Luis Exposito was charged with interference, and an error, for using his mask to corral the ball. The issue for Showalter is the lack of intent. Exposito wasn’t gaining an advantage only a few feet from the plate. It’s a silly rule.
As for the pitching, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy combined for 5 2/3 innings. Bundy logged the final three and was charged with one run and two hits, with two walks and one strikeout. He also threw a wild pitch.
Though the available innings are becoming more precious in camp, Showalter said there are no immediate plans to send Gausman and Bundy to Twin Lakes Park.
Asked if they’ve gotten everything they can out of this camp, Showalter replied, “No. If I said that, that would mean that we’re sending them out. There’s still some other things they can get. Not going to happen today or tomorrow.
“They keep getting feedback and filing information away. What they get is invaluable. There’s still things here they won’t get in Twin Lakes. As long as the innings are there... We have a split-squad coming up. I’ll leave that in Rick (Adair’s) hands. He’s very good with that.”
Showalter labeled Gausman’s outing as “OK.”
“It’s a process,” he said. “It was a good experience for him. We’re trying to get Dylan and him both some reps. Start, relieve. This is all good for them.
“We’ve been talking a lot with Dylan about his times to the plate and just little things like that. Being proactive instead of reactive. He got quicker to the plate after the fact. That’s an example of a good experience for him.
“Both of them carry good stuff, but you get to a level where you’ve got to pitch a little, too. They presented themselves well. That was a very hitter-friendly day and we only gave up, the way I look at it, two runs.
“They continue to do good things here. I’m proud of them.”
Bundy made some mechanical adjustments with Adair after a decrease in his velocity in Fort Myers.
“When guys have had a lot of success, unless it’s something that’s a physical issue that really puts them in harm’s way... But you’ve got to be able to present it at the right time,” Showalter said. “It’s like when someone comes to you and asks, ‘What do you see?’ And then you’ve got them. It’s what comes first. What he considers a little failure, whether it’s command or velocity, is something you keep in your holster, so when it comes time, you’re ready.
“I know Rick had a couple things he wanted to do with Dylan, his place on the rubber. There’s some little things with his delivery, nothing major. But I thought he threw the ball downhill a lot more today.
“This is all part of things they need to get exposed to. This is a hard day to pitch. Wind’s blowing out, field’s dry. And hey, I’ll take my chances with, the way I look at it, giving up two runs. It would be real picky for me to fault pitching today.”
Exposito threw out Tim Beckham trying to steal with Bundy on the mound, illustrating how the right-hander was quicker to the plate.
“There’s a big difference between 1.4-something and 1.2-something,” Showalter said. “Let’s face it, he hasn’t had a whole lot of baserunners, and a lot of guys who can run. You’ve got multiple guys at this level who run well.
“I remember meeting with the pitchers last year and I did it again this year. Why would you not take advantage of a great commodity like Matt Wieters throwing? If you give him a chance, he’s going to throw them out. It’s about decreasing 90-foot increments.
“That’s something that has to be taught before they get here.”
Today provided quite a lesson for Bundy, who gave up a double to Myers on an 0-2 pitch that might have been unhittable to a lesser talent.
“He throws a 94 mph heater to Myers on the inner half. He’s probably not used to that getting turned around,” Showalter said.
Rays starter Jeff Nieman mentioned today that he thought the stadium radar gun was a few miles-per-hour slow, and that seems to be the general feeling here.
“This gun’s off a little bit. All of them,” Showalter said. “That’s why we keep one consistent guy, so you can gauge off it, so anything that’s on the board, we have a pretty good idea how far it’s off.”
Not that Showalter obsesses over velocity. That’s the media’s job.
“It doesn’t really mean that much to me,” Showalter said. “(Bundy) feels great physically.”
Hall of Famer Phil Niekro is at Twin Lakes Park and will work with one of the knuckleballing pitchers that the Orioles signed out of an independent league.