PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Jair Jurrjens tossed five scoreless innings today in relief of Steve Johnson, allowing two hits, walking none and striking out three in the Orioles’ 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“That’s as good as I’ve seen him,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Regardless of which hitter he was against, all that other stuff, he was in command. That’s pretty solid right there. Down with everything with a couple exceptions. Pretty impressive.
“We’ve got to make some decisions where he’s concerned toward the end of the month.”
Johnson didn’t get the decision after allowing three runs in the third after walking the bases loaded.
“Everything was good except the one inning,” Showalter said.
The three walks were “uncharacteristic,” Showalter added. “Throw that out and he was very ... he was Steve.
“Steve brings a baseball player’s mentality to pitching. He’s a pitcher that’s a baseball player. But that was uncharacteristic for him. He may do it for a hitter, but he gets right back in sync.
“The 3-1 pitch to (Mike Fontenot) was a strike. That’s what Tea (Taylor Teagarden) said and he’s pretty honest. But whatever. It would have been 3-2. Yeah, it wasn’t good for him, but he’s pitched well. Throw that inning out and he was pretty good today.”
Jonathan Schoop, making his first start this spring, went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. He also looked pretty good at shortstop, where the Orioles are projecting him to play at Triple-A Norfolk.
“That’s the first time I’ve gotten to get a really good look at him. He’s a big man,” Showalter said.
“He was excited to play. I walked up to him last night in the dugout and asked, ‘How many more days do you think you’ll need before you’ll be ready to play?’ And he said, ‘I’m ready to play right now. I’d like to play right now.’ “
Deciding to have a little fun at the kid’s expense, Showalter replied that Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens told him, “You’re going to need four or five days. You were real tired.” Schoop wasn’t buying it.
“He got a lot of work with Brady (Anderson) in the offseason. He really firmed up with some things. He grew a lot last year. It looks like his legs are under him better. Last year, it looked like a fawn, where the legs are wobbly supporting the body. This year, he’s got his legs up under him.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what he does this year.”
Steve Pearce continued to clear the fence, hitting his fifth homer of the spring to close out the Orioles’ scoring.