SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — On a cool day with winds blowing out, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter decided to give his most trusted relievers their first work of spring training.
Jim Johnson, who had a major league-leading 51 saves, Darren O’Day and Luis Ayala each pitched an inning in the Orioles’ 19-7 rout of Spain’s World Baseball Classic team on Wednesday.
With an extra-long spring training, Showalter decided to give the relievers, who combined for 206 appearances in 2012, extra rest.
Johnson allowed an unearned run, Ayala pitched a scoreless fourth, and O’Day allowed two runs in his one inning.
“That was the whole idea — to get them out there,” Showalter said.
“We’ll be careful with it, all of them. We’ve got a long time down here — a long time.”
The Orioles were unfamiliar with Spain’s team, which features just two players on major league rosters. The lack of knowledge didn’t faze Johnson.
“It wasn’t hard at all. It was a good work day. That’s what I thought. I got what I needed out of it,” Johnson said.
“I felt good today. That’s all that really matters.”
Besides the three relievers, Showalter used two of his candidates for the fifth starter, Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton.
Arrieta allowed one unearned run and three hits in three innings. Britton gave up three runs and four hits in two innings.
“They feel good physically, and that’s good enough for me right now,” Showalter said.
A year ago, Arrieta was the Orioles’ Opening Day starter. This year, he’ll be fortunate to make the Opening Day roster.
In his first two spring appearances, he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings. He felt better this time.
“Sometimes throughout the week before a start, a light bulb will go off. Whether it’s something small mechanically in the bullpen or something you are doing on a certain pitch to kind of help you progress and be more consistent with that pitch — and that’s happened over the past couple bullpens. I’ve had two real good sides leading into this game. So, things are really starting to tighten up,” Arrieta said.
Arrieta wasn’t bothered by not knowing who he was facing.
“It doesn’t really matter, one way or the other,” Arrieta said. “It’s hard to know their strengths and weaknesses.”
Russ Canzler had two home runs and drove in six runs. Travis Ishikawa had a two-run home run in Baltimore’s nine-run six inning. The Orioles scored in six of the eight innings.
“That was a hitter friendly day,” Showalter said.
On Tuesday, Spain lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-0.
Canzler, who is competing for a roster spot as a utility player, hit a two-run home run, off starter Richard Salazar in the first. He added a sacrifice fly in the second and a three-run home run in the fourth.
Salazar was drafted by the Orioles in 2001.
NOTES: Henry Urrutia, the Cuban defector signed by the Orioles last July, was introduced before the game. Urrutia, a left-handed hitting outfielder, had been in Haiti, awaiting a work visa since he was signed. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said that Urrutia could play in the major leagues this season. … Showalter said that RF Nick Markakis, who’s been out with neck spasms, would probably play again on Sunday. … Rookie RHP Dylan Bundy is likely to start against Boston on Saturday night.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)