SARASOTA, Fla. -- In his final spring outing, Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel, who will likely be the team's Opening Day starter, threw five innings against the Tampa Bay Rays' Single-A minor leaguers on the back fields of Ed Smith Stadium.
Hammel allowed three runs -- all earned -- and three hits, striking out six and walking three. Unofficially, he threw 76 pitches, 47 strikes.
He initially struggled through a 23-pitch first inning that was ended after just two outs, but he overwhelmed hitters with his fastball-changeup-curveball combo as the outing progressed.
Because the Orioles' Grapefruit League schedule has been heavy on American League East opponents, most of Hammel’s spring outings have been in minor-league or simulated games. He's appeared in just two Grapefruit League games, the most recent on March 7 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
In those games, Hammel allowed just one run and six hits in four innings. Those were both two-inning stints, so he's built up his innings and pitch counts while working on his pitches against minor league competition.
The Orioles will play Double-A and Triple-A level games at the Ed Smith Stadium complex again tomorrow. Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen will pitch in one of those games in his final spring start.
Cuban defector Henry Urrutia also played in the Single-A game, starting the day 0-for-2 with a strikeout.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun