SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles left-hander Zach Britton took another step in his attempt to shake off persistent shoulder soreness , throwing his first bullpen session of the spring and reporting no fatique or discomfort.
“It was good,” said Britton. “I threw 25 pitches off the mound —mostly four-seamers and sinkers. It was nice and easy.”
Britton first came up sore last August and had hoped that the inflammation would subside during the offseason, but it recurred when he began his pre-camp throwing program. He underwent an MRI that showed no structural damage and has been on a conservative throwing progression during the first two weeks of workouts.
Though he’s well behind his teammates, manager Buck Showalter said this week that there is still time for him to catch up and make the team.
If there is no day-after soreness, Britton will throw his next bullpen on Monday.
“I’ve got to wait and see how I feel (Saturday),’’ he said. “I didn’t feel fatigued today, so I don’t think there will be anything tomorrow.”
Eveland’s intrasquad debut
New Orioles pitcher Dana Eveland, like everyone else who was getting a little bored with two weeks of bullpen sessions and fielding drills, was eager to finally get into a competitive situation on Friday, but he was hoping to make a slightly better first impression in the team’s first intrasquad game.
“It would have been a lot more fun if I hadn’t given up a run,’’ he said. “It was nice to get out and compete and get a feel for it, but it would have been nice to have a clean inning.”
Of course, that’s the trouble with playing against your teammates. Every outcome is good for one player fighting for a job and bad for another, but Eveland knows that one rope double by Nolan Reimold is not going to stand out when it comes time to pick the major league pitching staff.
“Most of all when you go out there, you just want to make sure you don’t hit any of your teammates,’’ he said. “You want to get your three outs as quick as you can and get out of there.”
Hunter scratch precautionary
The day after Showalter announced that Tommy Hunter had been scratched from Tuesday’s exhibition start against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Hunter wanted to make it clear that his sore lower back wouldn’t be an issue if this were the regular season.
“I’m not concerned at all,’’ he said. “I can still pitch. I’ve still thrown bullpens with it, but it wasn’t getting any better, so they just decided to take two days and go from there. So, I’m not missing anything, other than the little intrasquad [Friday]. We’re just going to take it slow because it’s spring training.”
Hunter will throw his scheduled two innings on Tuesday, but will do some under simulated game conditions so that he won’t have to field his position and risk tweaking his back extending himself to make a defensive play.
“If it was midseason, I’d be playing,’’ he said. “That was the word I wanted them to know. It wasn’t getting any better, but maybe a couple of days will get it over the hump. It’s just a little discomfort, and it wasn’t during pitching. It had nothing to do with pitching. It was just bending over pickup up ground balls, as bad as that sounds.”
Around the horn
Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada (elbow) played catch for the second day in a row on Friday and watched the intrasquad game from the stands. Showalter said that his workout went well…Showalter also was happy with the daily progress of Jim Johnson (back) and Jason Berken (hamstring)…The Orioles will play another intrasquad game on Saturday at 1:05 before going through a regular workout Sunday and opening the Grapefruit League season with a split-squad doubleheader on Monday.