BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Erik Bedard expects to have some butterflies Thursday before he pitches the opener for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“It’s the first game of the season, so everybody does,” Bedard said. “But it’s another game, just one out of 162. Everybody makes a big deal out of opening day, but there’s always another game after that.”
In his final spring training tuneup Saturday, Bedard went five innings for Pittsburgh’s split squad in a 6-all tie with the Baltimore Orioles. The game was called after nine innings because both teams ran out of pitchers.
Bedard gave up four runs on five hits, walked two and struck out two.
“Just trying to get the pitch count up,” Bedard said. “That’s what spring training is for.”
The Orioles took a 4-1 lead in the fourth on consecutive home runs by Ronny Paulino and Jai Miller. Paulino’s homer, his first of the spring, was a three-run shot.
It was Miller’s first game back after missing 10 days due to tendinitis in his right knee. He’s out of minor league options and is in the mix for the final bench spot.
“You can’t really show anybody anything when you’re hurt and not playing,” Miller said. “So I definitely wanted to get back in there and just get some at-bats, get that timing back and show what I can do.”
The Pirates regained the lead by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth against Jake Arietta. Garrett Jones hit a two-run homer, Rod Barajas doubled and scored on a squeeze bunt by Bedard.
Barajas delayed his break for the plate and slid in under Paulino’s tag. Clint Barmes went to third on the play and scored when Paulino’s throw sailed into left field.
“I was trying to get out of the way and I ended up bunting,” Bedard said. “I turned around and was like, ‘Wow, what happened?”‘
Arietta worked five innings and allowed six runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out five.
“I felt good out of the stretch and the windup,” he said. “My stuff was pretty good. Two real bad changeups were hit out. I was pounding the zone early in the game and they were just coming out of their shoes on fastballs.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter wasn’t too concerned that Arietta’s changeup was iffy.
“He wouldn’t throw that pitch during the season,” Showalter said. “He’s in a good spot. He’s healthy, he’s throwing the ball (well) and he feels good about his stuff. I’m happy with where he is compared to where he was (at the end of) last year.”
NOTES: The game was delayed 46 minutes by rain before the top of the seventh. The Orioles optioned RHP Chris Tillman to Triple-A Norfolk. Tillman had a 2.92 ERA in five outings (one start). Orioles RHP Tommy Hunter will start a minor league intrasquad game Sunday. LHP Zach Phillips and LHP Troy Patton appear to be the leaders for the final two spots in the Orioles’ bullpen. The Pirates will finish Grapefruit League play on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Pirates will then fly to Philadelphia for exhibition games on Monday and Tuesday against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Pirates drew 82,390 fans for 15 home games this spring. It’s the third-highest total since the Pirates moved to McKechnie Field in 1969.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)