PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Alfredo Aceves retired the Rays in order in the bottom of the 10th inning, and today’s game ended in a 3-3 tie.
The Orioles are 12-7-2 this spring.
Aceves refused to pitch until the Rays’ grounds crew repaired the mound, causing a lengthy delay. Manager Buck Showalter actually took a rake to speed up the process and carried it off the field.
“It was the rubber,” he said. “It had been that way for two or three innings. In fairness to Alfredo, there was no place to get to the step. It was this deep all the way the length of the rubber. I told him, if he doesn’t want to pitch out of it, we won’t do it. If they couldn’t have repaired it, we would have been done.
“It’s his career and he’s trying to make the club. I’m on his side there. And so were they.”
Ubaldo Jimenez worked six innings today and threw 72 pitches.
“Jimmy was good,” Showalter said, breaking out a new nickname. “Challenging day, condition-wise. That’s good to see. Right where you want him to be. Got where he needed to be with his pitch count and innings. Good day for him.”
Evan Meek gave up a run in the ninth to blow the save - the first time he’s been scored upon in seven innings - but he told reporters that he hit 95 mph on the radar gun. He didn’t exhibit that type of velocity last season while still working his way back from a shoulder injury.
“I thought everybody pitched pretty well,” Showalter said. “Meek had a couple pitches that probably should have been strikes. He threw a couple 93s, and couple 94s. I haven’t seen the actual gun charts. It’s coming out of there clean and loose. I think all the pitchers, you can see them getting into season shape. We’re where we need to be, knock on wood.
“I thought (Jimenez) did a nice job with the running game. It actually got him two outs today getting to the plate at the times we need him to get to it. And he hasn’t fluctuated back like he has in the past, where he tries to go quicker and then stops all of a sudden.”
Jimenez said he felt “really good” this afternoon.
“The most important thing was, I was able to get into the sixth inning, got my pitch count up. I felt good. I threw a lot of strikes. Everything was good,” he said.
“I feel really happy. I came here a week later than everybody else, but I feel good. My last game, I was able to get to 60 pitches. I was able to get to more than that. So one more and then I’ll be ready for the season.”
Being stretched out is important, Jimenez said, “especially against this lineup.”
“If you close your eyes, they might score five or six runs right away, but I was able to get back on track. I got into a good rhythm throwing strikes and everything was working good,” he said.
Jimenez will start the second game of the season against the Red Sox at Camden Yards.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “I know I’ve only been here for a month, but spring training is long. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Hitting coach Jim Presley didn’t make the trip today. He received a second epidural shot in his neck to alleviate the pain from a herniated disk.
Showalter asked reporters whether they had been informed of any transactions involving the Orioles. Something must be brewing, though it doesn’t appear to be a big move.
Still no word on Luis Ayala’s physical. The wait continues.