SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Clay Buchholz thought he threw reasonably well. The statistics said otherwise.
Projected as the Boston’s third starter, Buchholz allowed five runs over five innings in a shaky outing Friday and the Red Sox lost 6-5 to the Baltimore Orioles.
Buchholz gave up two-run homers to Adam Jones in the first and Nick Markakis in the third. It was Jones’ third home run of the spring and Markakis’ first.
Buchholz gave up seven hits and walked one while striking out three. In his first three starts this spring, he had allowed three runs and seven hits over 10 innings.
“Overall, I pitched pretty well. That pitch that Jones hit was up. That’s what he does — and a couple of fly balls with the wind got to them and they were to a spot where there wasn’t anybody there,” Buchholz said.
Last year, Buchholz was limited to 14 starts — none after June 16 — because of a back injury. Now, he’s slated behind Jon Lester and Josh Beckett in Boston’s starting rotation. Buchholz has thrown five innings in his last two starts.
“I know that I need to get my pitch count up because I wasn’t ready for my first couple starts last year. So I still wanted to go out there for that fifth inning,” he said.
“Overall, this is about getting your work in. You always want to see the results you want happen, but it just doesn’t happen all the time.”
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine sees definite progress in Buchholz.
“He threw a lot of curveballs, and some of them were good and some just got up in the wind. But he worked on everything he wanted to work on,” Valentine said. “It was good work. His stuff was good.”
Baltimore starter Jason Hammel made it through just two innings, allowing two runs and three hits.
“A lot of foul balls today. Just one of those days where I was making pretty good pitches, and they weren’t putting them in play,” Hammel said. “I made my share of bad pitches in there, too. Just getting my work in, making sure I get to a certain point in pitches, just getting ready for the season. No reason to get hurt.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Hammel has pitched well, but the defense was a little shaky.
“He’s had a good spring. He’s thrown the ball well — right from his first outing,” Showalter said. “Balls that should have been caught — we had three or four of these today.”
Brad Bergesen followed Hammel with three scoreless innings. Robert Andino had two RBIs for the Orioles.
Boston’s Darnell McDonald had three hits and is batting .500.
“He’s a hitting machine, flat-out hitting machine. What’s he hitting, .700? It seems it,” Valentine said.
NOTES: Boston RHPs Clayton Mortensen and Junichi Tazawa and C Luis Exposito were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. RHP Brandon Duckworth, LHP Jesse Carlson, C Max St. Pierre and OF Alex Hassan were reassigned to minor league camp. Valentine informed RHP Vicente Padilla, who had been under consideration for the fifth starter’s job, that he will now work out of the bullpen. Baltimore SS J.J. Hardy was out with a sore arm. He expects to play Saturday. Orioles managing general partner Peter Angelos attended the game.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)