SARASOTA, Fla. - Former reliever Todd Frohwirth is leaving camp Sunday morning and heading to Arizona, where he will resume his scouting duties for the Orioles.
His work here is done.
Frohwirth has been tutoring Darren O’Day on refining his changeup. O’Day threw four or five of them today while retiring the Red Sox in order in the fifth inning on a strikeout and two ground balls to first baseman Chris Davis.
“It went about as well as it could have,” O’Day said after the Orioles’ 7-3 win over the Red Sox. “It was exciting because they were all near the strike zone. I got some early swings on them, some foul tips. They were near the strike zone, good velocity. The best changeups I’ve ever thrown in my career, so I’m excited about it.”
O’Day is building the confidence to use the pitch in regular season games.
“Yeah, that’s why we’re practicing it now,” he said. “That’s the idea. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be doing it now.
“I threw one today and my first goal was just not to hit him, and it ended up being a strike. He fouled it off. That’s the process, that we’ll get there and I’ll be throwing it in games.”
Frohwirth threw from a similar arm slot, which makes it easier to teach the pitch to O’Day.
“I owe him a great deal,” O’Day said. “Him and all the pitching coaches that we have here helped me, but Todd especially. He says I did it all, but just a couple things, the way he broke it down, made it a lot easier on me. For a guy who’s done it and been there and been through it to help lead me through it made it a lot easier.”
O’Day actually lowered his ERA from 2.28 in 2012 to 2.18 last season, but left-handers hit .309 against him. Adding another pitch could improve his splits.
“I thought the changeup was good today,” Showalter said. “That was good to see. It could really help him.”
Bud Norris tossed three scoreless innings while speculation mounted that the Orioles may sign Ervin Santana, which might squeeze him out of the rotation. They’ve made a one-year proposal for close to the $14.1 million qualifying offer that Santana turned down, according to a source (and various reports).
“(Norris) is a guy, if we hadn’t held him out, would pitch 200 innings last year,” Showalter said. “He’s a pretty good commodity. We like him. At 29, I’m sure he thought about it last year when his name was being bandied about to be traded. He knows it’s part of what goes on.
“Bud’s taking care of business and I’m happy about that.”
It’s only natural to assume that Norris is aware of the Santana talk and is trying to block it out.
“It wouldn’t surprise me the way communication works around baseball,” Showalter said. “You could say the same thing about all of our pitchers for that matter. Everybody thinks about how things like that affect people. I know we’re not at that point where it’s going to be a factor.”
Here’s the Red Sox lineup for tonight’s split-squad game in Fort Myers:
Update: I just checked the live box score from the Orioles-Red Sox game in Fort Myers.
Kevin Gausman retired nine of the 10 batters he faced. The only baserunner came on Corey Brown’s single in the third inning.
Gausman struck out Daniel Nava, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli.
In two spring outings, Gausman has allowed one run and three hits over five innings, with one walk and five strikeouts.