SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles will make one or two more cuts this afternoon, with more likely coming in the morning.
Manager Buck Showalter was asked again about free agent pitcher Ervin Santana and replied that he spoke with executive vice president Dan Duquette about the right-hander today and nothing was imminent.
Showalter confirmed that Mike Wright, reassigned earlier today, will be in Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation in 2014. Showalter wanted him in minor league camp now to get more innings.
The Orioles have scored 29 runs in the last two days and never trailed today in a 9-2 win over the Pirates.
Wei-Yin Chen allowed a leadoff hit in the first and retired the next eight batters.
“Chen was crisp. That was good to see,” Showalter said. “He had that changeup, was very effective. He was a little crisper stuff-wise, especially to carry it that many innings on kind of a hitter-friendly day.
“I’m very encouraged with the progress that they’ve made with the changeup and the breaking ball.”
Zach Britton allowed one hit, walked one and struck out two in two scoreless innings. He’s surrendered one run in six innings over three spring outings.
“Zach was real good,” Showalter said. “When a quality hitter swings and misses the sinker, that’s a pretty good sinker, especially at 93-95 (mph).
“He’s been sharp. I’m excited with how he’s doing. Hopefully, he’s following the same path as another guy (Chris Tillman) who was out of options last spring.”
Britton said this is the best he’s felt in years.
“I see the progress every outing, which is even better,” he said. “You don’t want to stay stagnant, especially in spring training. You want to be improving and I feel like that’s coming. It’s very exciting. But also, I’ve kind of got to temper my expectations, even when I get on the mound. At times, I feel so good that, there’s an expression that Dave (Wallace) has been telling me, ‘How easily can I throw hard?’ And that was kind of my thought process today in some situations where I felt really good, I’d tell myself, ‘Hey, let’s keep it calm. How easily can I throw hard and just focus on letting the sink do the work?’ And it was a good mindset today.
“I think that’s the key for me. I feel great. I feel better than I have in a while, and it’s kind of staying within myself and not doing too much.”
Brad Brach allowed two solo home runs in two innings, but Showalter said only one was legit.
Chris Davis (8-for-15), Nick Markakis (10-for-16), J.J. Hardy (6-for-15) and Jonathan Schoop (8-for-15) are a combined 32-for-61 (.525) this spring. Is that good?
Showalter isn’t worried about guys getting hot too soon and leaving it back at camp once the season starts.
“I have not looked at a stat sheet this spring and I won’t. I don’t look at them,” Showalter said. “I trust the people who are responsible for the pitching and hitting and defense, and I trust my eyes. I think there’s more in the tank. I’m OK with them playing real well.
“I’m fine with where they are. I’m not going to go in there and say, ‘Hey, you guys need to take a couple O-fers.’ I’m proud of their preparation so far.”
Showalter removed David Lough for a pinch-hitter in the fourth for two reasons. Lough had a late night in Fort Myers and he drove his girlfriend to the airport at 5:30 a.m.
“He had a very physical night last night and I wanted to get him out of there,” Showalter said, adding that he would have held Lough out of the lineup and used him later if he had known about the early-morning trip to the airport.
“He didn’t tell me until right before game time,” Showalter said.