By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
6:20 AM EST, March 6, 2012
SARASOTA, Fla. -- It wasn’t the Grapefruit League debut new Matt Lindstrom had hoped for, but the new Orioles reliever’s first spring outing did serve a valuable purpose.
Lindstrom, acquired last month in the trade that sent Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado, allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits, walking one, in his inning of work in Monday’s 10-3 loss to the Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium.
For a pitcher hoping to lock down a late-inning role on a new team, it wasn’t what Lindstrom wanted.
“It’s not really an impression you’d like to make on your new club going out there and trying to give up hits,” Lindstrom said. “(It’s the) first time under the lights. (You’re) trying to work on stuff.”
Pitchers are always tinkering with things in the offseason -- mechanics, new grips, mental approaches. And while Lindstrom’s fastball was as advertised – he regularly hit 95 mph – and he was working on a new grip on his slider, which was still registering at around 87-88 mph.
“That’s one thing I wanted to build on off of this outing, to keep the velocity up a little bit,” Lindstrom said. “In years past it kind of loops out under my hand, the hitter gets a better read on it and stuff. Tonight it was shorter, more like my fastball out of my hand. So I’m pleased with the grip that I’m using now and I look forward to keep it going and getting it better.”
It looks like Lindstrom is really trying to make that slider a more dependable out pitch.
“I threw it 0-2,” he said. “That’s something else that has kind of been my MO in my career, my downfall is my first hitter I get a guy with two strikes and try to get my stuff even nastier and then I get in a full count and have to throw a fastball.
“But I threw it in some different counts, with runners on base,” he added. “I’m pleased with my slider tonight for sure.”
Some other thoughts heading into Tuesday:
-- The squad the Orioles bring to today’s game against the Red Sox at Fort Myers will look remarkably similar to the one that went to Port Charlotte on Monday afternoon. That means few regular starters and a lot of younger non-roster invitees getting playing time. Expect to see the likes of Xavier Avery, L.J. Hoes and Ryan Adams in Fort Myers.
-- Speaking of those young players like Avery and Hoes tomorrow might mark the end of them seeing significant playing time. Both played in both games Monday, but now expect them to see limited time before moving down to minor league camp. Top prospect Manny Machado, brought up from minor league camp, also played in both games.
-- The simulated game that will take play this morning will be only four innings. It’s only purpose is to give its participants – pitchers Tommy Hunter (2 innings), Zach Britton (1 inning) and Jim Johnson (1 inning) – a chance to see live hitting.
-- It will be interesting to see if Dan Duquette makes the trip to Fort Myers. I think he does, and if so, he will be the object of plenty attention from the Red Sox beat corps.
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