BRADENTON, Fla. - Miguel Gonzalez got off to another rough start today against the Pirates, falling behind 3-0 after two innings.
The Orioles right-hander served up a solo home run to Andrew McCutchen with the count full and one out in the first inning. He hit David Freese, who scored on Francisco Cervelli’s two-out double down the left field line.
Josh Harrison led off the second with a bloop double to right-center field, and he scored on Jordy Mercer’s single into center. Two batters into the inning and the Pirates had expanded their lead.
Gonzalez threw 17 pitches, 10 for strikes, in the first inning. He threw 16 pitches, 11 for strikes, in the second. The only ground ball in two innings came on pitcher Jeff Locke’s sacrifice bunt.
Cervelli singled with two outs in the third and was picked off. Gonzalez has thrown 43 pitches, 28 for strikes.
The Orioles have leadoff singles by Joey Rickard, Caleb Joseph, Paul Janish and Joseph in four innings. Dariel Alvarez and Nolan Reimold grounded into double plays in the first two innings, and Reimold hit into another one in the fourth.
The third inning was a different story.
Rickard’s RBI double scored Janish and Ryan Flaherty raced home on Alvarez’s grounder to short to cut the Pirates’ lead to 3-2. Flaherty walked after Janish’s single.
Rickard is 18-for-47 (.383) this spring with six doubles, a home run, five RBIs and five walks.
Newly signed left-hander Zach Phillips threw a “touch and feel” bullpen session today, according to manager Buck Showalter and could debut Thursday or Friday.
“He’s not very far removed from pitching, so it should be pretty soon,” Showalter said.
“Just a guy that was available. We’ve got what, about 10 days? A little less than that to take a look at some guys and make sure we’re covered. It doesn’t mean that he makes the club or anything. Just another guy to look at.”
Showalter is familiar with Phillips, who spent parts of the 2011 and 2012 seasons in Baltimore.
“We know what some of the other parts of it are that sometimes you’re guessing on this time of the year,” Showalter said. “This time of year guys start showing their cards a little bit and you’ve got an idea who’s out there. We’ll take a look at him.”
The Orioles need a situational lefty if Brian Matusz goes on the disabled list.
“We know with the potential of having an all right-handed rotation, you’re going to get everybody’s left-handers,” Showalter said. “So certainly lessen the load on some people. We’ve got some right-handed pitchers who have shown the ability to get left-handed hitters out. I know what ideally on paper bullpens normally look like, but I’ve seen real good bullpens that were predominantly right-handed.
“The optionability of a bullpen is important, too, and sometimes in your rotation, but Zach is out of options. He had some options of where to go and he chose us because he saw there might be an opportunity here.
“You can take Zach (Britton) out of the equation because he’s pitching at the end of the game, so he’s not really a left-handed guy from that perspective. Some unknowns where Brian is concerned and we’re kind of looking for ways to improve it.”
Dr. Brian Schofield examined Jimmy Paredes’ wrist again and presented good news.
“They didn’t find that there was something that we didn’t think was there,” Showalter said. “They’re starting him on a medical dose pack now to see if they could get that last bit of soreness out of there. He had a pretty sensitive thing there and we’re confident it’ll eventually manage, but Jimmy’s a tough guy. I know it’s frustrating for him to finally get a chance to start swinging some and still have a problem.”
Kevin Gausman is close to picking up a ball again after having a cortisone injection in his right shoulder.
“Talked about him doing something Friday,” Showalter said. “I think that’s the next time he’s going to take a ball in his hand. Friday, maybe the weekend. I’m kind of leaning on them and what they want to do.”
Matt Wieters continues to take positive strides after leaving a March 12 game with soreness in his right elbow.
“He caught bullpens today, he’s throwing the ball and you can tell he’s not thinking about it,” Showalter said. “He went out to 90 feet yesterday. John (Russell) and he talked about when he’d appear in a game, but I’m not going to throw it out there yet. Then if it doesn’t happen on that date, then the alarm goes up. I think he’ll be catching again in the not-too-near future.
“Tomorrow is the last day that he could appear in a major league attendance game, so if you see him catching in an A game, we feel real confident that he’s going to be with us to start the season. Same way with Gausman.”
Chris Davis, who’s 0-for-2, told Showalter that he wanted to make the trip today. He wasn’t in the original lineup.
“Chris has earned it. ‘Hey, do you mind if I go over and get some at-bats today? I want to see the left-hander,’ ” Showalter said. “I wouldn’t ask why, I just said, ‘Yeah, no problem, let’s do it.’
“I’ve got their at-bat chart. I know where they’re at, where they need to be. They’re right on schedule. There’s not hardly anybody that we’re going to have to catch up on right now. We’re in really good shape with all of them.”