SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The first spring start for Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada didn’t go exactly how the Baltimore
Orioles planned it — not in length of appearance, and certainly not in the results.
Wada gave up four runs and four hits in three innings during the Minnesota Twins’ 5-0 victory Tuesday. Wada walked two, struck out three and was pulled from his abbreviated performance an inning before planned.
Twins right-hander Anthony Swarzak, making his first start after four relief appearances, struck out three over 3 2/3 hitless
innings. He retired the first eight batters before Rule 5 pick Ryan Flaherty walked in the third. Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds walked with two outs in the fourth, and Swarzak was done for the day.
The Orioles were hitless until Robert Andino doubled off Glen Perkins with one out in the eighth and was thrown out going for a
triple. It was Baltimore’s only hit of the game.
Wada, who signed a two-year, $8.15 million contract over the winter, is competing with left-hander Brian Matusz for the fifth
spot in the Orioles’ rotation. Wada was brought along slowly after inflammation in his left elbow delayed his first appearance.
He could end up in the bullpen as a long reliever, but that’s not how he’s viewed at the moment.
“I just want him to attack the rest of his time down here and hopefully get to five or six innings, and that leaves our options
to us,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Right now, we’re looking at him as a starter, and I don’t want him thinking anything else.”
Wada threw two innings in relief against the Atlanta Braves on March 18 in his other Grapefruit League game, allowing one run and one hit with three strikeouts.
The Orioles wanted Wada to go four innings against the Twins, but after he threw 18 pitches in the first and 30 in the second,
the leash shortened.
“It didn’t go that well. I’m not satisfied,” he said through his translator. “I wasn’t able to throw correctly with my normal
form today. The first-pitch strike with the fastball I pitched was hit easily. I have to work on it more.”
Wada gave up a run and two hits in the first inning, then allowed three runs on two hits and two walks in the second, the key
hit a two-run double by Jamey Carroll.
“If I keep pitching like this, I know I won’t be able to throw and be in the starting rotation,” Wada said. “I might not even be able to throw in general (for the Orioles) if I keep up throwing like this. I was trying to have fun today; and it wasn’t awkward or anything. I liked the atmosphere. I was really looking forward to pitching today. That’s why I feel sorry for the crowd that came here to watch me.”
Asked if he’s believes that he’s running out of time to make the team, Wada replied, “Yes, I do.”
Showalter isn’t going to judge Wada on one start.
“We like the guy a lot,” Showalter said. “It’s just another progression. Usually, this time of year, I wouldn’t say there’s
more intensity, but there’s a sense of urgency with the games, so it’s a good barometer to see where he is physically and
Swarzak hadn’t gone more than 2 1/3 innings before Tuesday, and he was carrying a 6.35 ERA in 5 2/3 innings. He retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced before the back-to-back walks in the fourth.
“I don’t care if it’s spring training or the regular season. It doesn’t matter. That’s unacceptable,” Swarzak said of the walks.
“But back to the positive, definitely a good outing, definitely a step in the right direction. I felt a lot of good things in my delivery today. I was working downhill when I needed to. I had a few misfires, but was able to get back to what I was working on. That’s always a good sign this early in the season.
“I’ve been told they’re going to stretch me out. That’s all they’ve told me, and that’s OK with me. The less I know, the better
at this point.”
The Twins added a run off Chris Tillman in the fifth when Carroll walked, stole second and scored on Justin Morneau’s one-out
NOTES: Troy Patton retired the side in order in the fourth for Baltimore, throwing all nine pitches for strikes. He hasn’t allowed a run in 9 1/3 spring innings. … Orioles LHP Wei-Yin Chen faced 26 batters in a minor league game against the Twins’ Triple-A team. He allowed four runs and six hits, walked two and struck out five. Chen threw 85 pitches, 50 for strikes. … Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon, who’s been sidelined since March 18 with a sore groin, will pitch in relief Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin. … Twins reliever Jeff Gray retired all seven batters he faced after replacing Swarzak. … The Twins optioned right-handed pitcher Jeff Manship and outfielder Joe Benson to Triple-A Rochester. They also reassigned catcher Rene Rivera and infielder Pedro Florimon to minor league camp. The Twins now have 34 active players in camp.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)