SARASOTA, Fla. - Left-hander Zach Britton worked only one inning today, throwing all seven of his pitches for strikes while retiring the side in order. Not sure why it was such an abbreviated outing.
The Orioles loaded the bases with one out in the third on Nolan Reimold’s single and stolen base and two hit batters. Chris Davis grounded into a double play to end the threat.
A.J. Burnett has now hit six batters in three starts over eight innings after drilling Jemile Weeks and Nick Markakis today.
Eduardo Rodriguez gave up two runs in the fourth on three hits and a sacrifice fly to expand the Phillies lead to 6-1.
Here’s more from Cal Ripken Jr.’s interview today with the Baltimore media:
On his opinion of the Orioles
“I haven’t really, to be honest, looked at them from a level of evaluation. I know the nucleus of the club and I know the additions that they’ve made. It’s kind of funny to me, being around Baltimore, that the expectations have risen the last couple of years about this team. In the early parts everyone was saying we hadn’t made any moves, kind of stood pat to improve the team, so there’s an expectation now that there’s a foregone conclusion you’re a competitive playoff team and that you need to improve your team each and every year like everybody else in your division is doing.
“To see the flurry of moves ... (Ubaldo) Jimenez, that’s an interesting arm and an interesting addition to the staff because the potential from now is really interesting. And to add a big bat to the lineup is really interesting. The DH role, managers utilize it in many different ways with many different people. I’m of the opinion that DH is a position in the American League. If you have one person that can handle that, he’s in scoring position when he steps into the batters box. That’s a big plus to have on your team.”
On the flurry of moves this spring
“To me, I take comfort in knowing that the strategy to improve your team is not just in the offseason. You want to be opportunistic and you want to improve your team in all parts of the year, so I have confidence that the brain trust of the Orioles was thinking about ways to improve their club all the way through. It does create some excitement when there’s a flurry of activity, a flurry of moves, but in the end you want to leave spring training with your team intact, and I think the great value of spring training is to get everybody healthy and get everybody feeling good going north. The flurry was exciting and a little bit of a surprise, but they’ve got a chance to have a full spring training to get everybody ready.”
On whether it’s tough for him not being here as much as he’d like
“I think I’d have to undo some of my life. As you can tell, I’m on a book tour right now on which we’ve chosen to come around to ballpark venues, which have been very successful, in which I get the best of both worlds. I get a glimpse of what my life used to be like and also stay busy and do some of the things that I like to do as well. I feel very comfortable going into Buck (Showalter’s) clubhouse. I sat down with Millsy (Alan Mills) and Scotty Mac (McGregor) and Bordy (Mike Bordick). In many ways, it feels like old times, which is really cool, and I enjoy that. Spring training time is a very busy time of the year for me in some of the other businesses that I have going on, so it’s not always as easy to schedule a block of time.”
On whether his busy schedule discourages him from taking a job in the majors
“The safe answer is to say, I’m very happy doing what I’m doing right now because anything else I say can be pulled in different directions. That would be the safe answer. I’ve had success in a couple of business models from the kids models that I’m looking to duplicate around the country, which requires time and planning, but there is a side of me that would like to be able to apply what you know at this level. I have no plans. I have no business strategy. I have no professional baseball strategy whatsoever, but there’s a side of me that feels that way. Does that leave the door open?”
On whether being out of baseball for 13 years is a detriment if he wants to return
“Have they changed the distance of the mound, of the bases? I don’t know. You’re asking me a specific question. Is that a negative that I’ve been gone 13 years? It is what you make of it, I suppose. How close you look at it. I think the things that I learned for 21 years as a player and the years before are all applicable. If there’s a refamiliarizing yourself with today’s game, if there is a learning curve, it would be very short.”