BRADENTON, Fla. - Matt Wieters will return to the Orioles lineup on Thursday as their designated hitter for a 1:05 p.m. game against the Pirates in Sarasota. He hasn’t played since March 12 due to a sore right elbow.
The Orioles climbed within a run of the Pirates today in the top of the ninth inning on an L.J. Hoes RBI grounder and a two-out run-scoring double by Cedric Mullins. It wasn’t enough, however, as the hosts held on for a 6-5 victory at McKechnie Field.
Miguel Gonzalez allowed four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, with one walk, no strikeouts, two home runs and a hit batter. His spring ERA sits at 12.56.
“OK. Not as good as we need him to be, but OK,” said manager Buck Showalter.
“Just command. Command’s not what he’s shown he can do in the past. I think he’s a little frustrated with that. He’s getting some pitches in places he doesn’t want to get them.”
Gonzalez said he’d like to have two pitches back, the home runs by Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco.
“Everything else was good,” he said. “Couple hits that I felt good with my pitches. (Francisco) Pena did a really good job back there. We have some good defense.”
The infielders finally got busy as Gonzalez was down to his last four batters.
“I’m a fly ball pitcher. We all know that,” he said. “When we get those ground balls, it definitely helps. We have the defense for it. Let them hit it. We’ll get them for sure.
“Just have to keep staying positive and work on things. I felt good overall with my stuff today. Come in next bullpen, keep working with what I need to and stay positive.
“I’m OK. I’m fine. Staying positive no matter what. I’m not going to give in.”
Gonzalez felt good coming back out for the fifth inning.
“Yeah, yeah. That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “They gave me the ball again to go out in the fifth and the more we go, the better it is. We all know our bullpen does a really good job, so you don’t have to worry about going too long. But you always want to finish strong.”
Paul Janish had a single, home run and double to raise his average to .324 with an .841 OPS. Not bad for a guy known for his glove.
“Paulie’s had a good spring offensively the whole year,” Showalter said. “I’m not sure what he’s hitting. I don’t look at stats down here, but I bet he’s doing pretty well statistically.
“For a guy who’s got a great, and rightfully so, defensive reputation, he came in here ... Paulie’s a guy trying to make the club and you can tell. These guys are getting a lot of at-bats and a lot of games played, especially on the road, and Paul’s a guy who’s taken advantage of the opportunity.”
Said Gonzalez: “Janish is swinging it today man. I’m excited for him.”
Mullins, who played right field late in today’s game, was a 13th-round pick last year out of Campbell University in North Carolina.
“That was an impressive, calm at-bat,” Showalter said. “I saw him two or three at-bats over at (Yovani) Gallardo’s game the other day (at Twin Lakes) and he catches your attention. He’s a good-looking little player. Strong, can do a lot of things. That was fun to watch.”
Caleb Joseph singled twice in his first two at-bats.
“He got a lot of enjoyment out of hitting fourth today,” Showalter said. “He told CD (Chris Davis) he’d get a lot of good pitches to hit today.”