Valencia optioned to Norfolk (Arrieta update)

SARASOTA, Fla. - So much for the Orioles not making any cuts tonight.

The club announced that infielder Danny Valencia has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, leaving 44 players in camp, including 12 non-roster invitees.

Valencia went 10-for-31 in 17 games this spring. His only home run came in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, breaking a 7-7 tie.

The Orioles purchased Valencia from the Red Sox on Nov. 28.

Valencia is expected to be the primary third baseman at Norfolk. He also played first base this spring.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette initially considered Valencia as a possible right-handed designated hitter to platoon with Wilson Betemit. Valencia is a career .316/.359/.472 batter against left-handers.

As for tonight’s game, Jake Arrieta has thrown two scoreless innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates despite allowing a double to Starling Marte on his first pitch in the first inning and a single to Garrett Jones on his first pitch in the second inning. He’s also walked a batter.

Arrieta has struck out three batters, including Pedro Alvarez on a 96 mph fastball to end the first inning.

Pirates designated hitter Gaby Sanchez was a late scratch from the lineup because of an allergic reaction, according to the club. Brad Hawpe replaced him and is batting eighth.

Update: Arrieta is shutting out the Pirates on five hits over five innings, with two walks and eight strikeouts. He’s stranded two runners in each of the last two innings.

Arrieta walked Marte on four pitches to open the fifth, then threw 10 consecutive strikes. Neil Walker singled, but Arrieta induced a bouncer to the mound, struck out Pedro Alvarez looking and retired Jones on a fly ball to the fence in right.

Arrieta has thrown 68 pitches, 50 for strikes. That ball-strike ratio isn’t an issue tonight.

Arrieta hasn’t allowed a run in his last three starts covering 13 2/3 innings. He’s struck out 15 batters. Also, he allowed only an unearned run in three innings against Team Spain before his streak began.

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