By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
3:49 PM EST, March 9, 2012
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta sparkled in his Grapefruit League debut – his first spring outing since undergoing right elbow surgery last August – throwing two hitless innings in Baltimore’s 3-3 10-inning Grapefruit League tie with the Rays.
Arrieta's performance, however, was overshadowed by a very scary moment in the top of the first, when Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold was hit in the left side of his jaw by an Alex Cobb fastball. Reimold fell to the ground holding his face and was carted off the field. He went to Peace River Hospital for precautionary tests. A CT scan showed no broken bones, only a loose tooth.
“The lowlight was Nolan getting hit, and the highlight was hearing he didn’t have a break,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I didn’t like his chances [at first].”
Arrieta, who was shelved late late season for surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow, retired six of the seven batters he faced. He induced five groundouts, struck out Rays catcher Jose Molina and walked one. He faced seven hitters and threw 24 pitches, 17 for strikes.
“I’ve really never felt this good since I’ve been a pro,’’ Arrieta said. “There’s still room for improvement. I’ve still got some strength to gain back. But I think it’s going to be a really fun year.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning when Endy Chavez worked a bases-loaded walk, but Matt Mangini’s two-out, two-run single off Brad Bergesen in the fourth gave the Rays a 2-1 lead.
Right fielder Scott Beerer, who replaced Reimold in the first inning, opening the seventh with a bunt single down the first-base line. He stole second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead. But Oliver Drake allowed a solo homer to Brad Coon tied the game at 3 in the bottom half of the inning.
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