Wells and Watkins talk about yesterday's outings in Tampa

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Tyler Wells came out of yesterday’s start in Tampa and wondered why he wasn’t summoned to speak with the media. Where did everybody go?

That’s when it hit him. He was pitching in a split-squad game against the Yankees. The Orioles also were home against the Pirates, and no one traveled besides team personnel.

The box score showed Wells working 3 2/3 innings and allowing one run and five hits with no walks and three strikeouts. What it didn’t reveal were his opinion of the performance and a change in his hand placement on the mound.

“I was happy with the results,” he said this morning. “We were testing something out yesterday in the delivery with a little bit of a different glove positioning, so getting comfortable with that. I was definitely happy with how I felt out there, the ability to command the zone. No walks, obviously.”

Wells focused on keeping the glove close to his body.

“A lot of that was trying to help create consistency,” he said. “It helps create better timing for myself. I’d say it worked out well, and we’ll see if it continues to progress forward.”

Ten of Wells’ 71 pitches were spent on Anthony Rizzo in the third. Rizzo fouled off five of them before lifting a sacrifice fly. And 10 more to Giancarlo Stanton, who took a 92.5 mph fastball for a third strike.

“Got myself into some deeper counts and some foul ball wars which ultimately just kind of ran the pitch count up,” Wells said, “but I think that overall it was good to get a groundball double play and get out of trouble, kind of start early in that aspect of just getting through trouble and not letting it blow up in your face.”

Wells felt like he did a better job of executing pitches than previous outings, getting ground balls when needed, including Aaron Judge on a 4-6-3 double play in the first.

“Obviously, my defense played a good role behind me,” he said. “(Terrin) Vavra made a great play, (Jordan) Westburg made some good plays, as well. Outfield holding it down for me.”

Wells is trying to wedge into a five-man rotation, with the bullpen a possibility if he’s excluded. He doesn’t know how it’s going to play out.

“Same thing I see every year is just going out there and competing and giving the team a chance to win,” he said, “and hopefully doing it all year.”

Spenser Watkins followed reliever Yennier Canó, who recorded the last out in the fourth, and allowed one unearned run and two total in four innings to lower his spring ERA to 4.15. He walked three batters and struck out four.

“I was happy,” he said. “A little wild. I’m going to look at the walks and be a little bit pissed off because that’s not my game. I want to attack hitters early and often. But I thought I made a lot of strides with the slider and the two-seam. I’m learning how to use those, as well as the four-seam off that, so I thought I did a much better job of attacking right-handed hitters. Just kind of building off that.

“I’ll take that one. A spring training outing, learned a ton, and we’ll move forward.”

Watkins doesn’t have a sense of whether he’s going to Boston for Opening Day. He was a starting candidate when camp began but probably has his best chance working in a role similar to yesterday.

“I feel like I’ve done a good job,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ve done enough to pitch my case, but you never know. I’ve been keeping that open mind of whether it’s starting, whether it’s relieving, whatever it is to help the team any way. I think I’ve done a pretty good job, but everybody as well has had a great camp, so whatever way I can help the team, I’m hoping I get an opportunity.”

Hyde said he received positive reports on both pitchers.

“Sounds like they threw the ball well,” he said.

Hyde is hoping to get two innings out of DL Hall today in the left-hander's spring debut.

Outfielder Anthony Santander will return to the lineup Tuesday against the Red Sox in Sarasota. The game airs on MASN.

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