Hammel wants O's to lean on him

SARASOTA, Fla. - Jason Hammel got to face his old team on Tuesday. The problem for him was that most of the Tampa Bay Rays were new to him.

Hammel, who was drafted by the Rays, was traded to Colorado after three seasons with them in 2008.

Last month, the Rockies traded him to the Baltimore Orioles, and in his second start with his new team, Hammel allowed a run and a hit in three innings in the Orioles' 7-7 10-inning tie with Tampa Bay before 8,045.

Hammel allowed a second-inning home run to Matt Joyce, and in a mild surprise, got some offensive backing.

Baltimore scored four runs off the Rays' David Price in the second. Those four runs were the most the Orioles scored in an inning this spring. The seven runs were a spring high, too.

"We had some good at-bats. It's the time of the spring where you start getting some more sense of urgency as you move forward," manager Buck Showalter said.

The Rays sent lots of recognizable names, but Hammel was familiar with only two: Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria. He did admit to being pumped going against them.

"Obviously, you want to show them something," Hammel said. "I don't feel like I have anything to prove to them, but it's funny how baseball comes full circle, and I'll be facing them during the season."

Hammel went out of his way not to campaign to be the Opening Day starter.

"I just want to be a part of the rotation," Hammel said. "I'm not going to take anything for granted. I'll come out here and continue to work hard as if I don't have a job, and wherever they put me in the rotation is fine with me. I've always wanted to be that guy. I want to be the guy you can lean on."

One of the names not recognizable to Hammel, but familiar to Orioles fans was Luke Scott, who received a warm greeting from the crowd, which was equally divided between fans of both teams. Scott was hitless in two at-bats and a walk.

READY FOR MARKAKIS: Nick Markakis will play for the first time this spring on Wednesday. Markakis had January surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle. He'll be the designated hitter for his first few games, and won't play in the field until Mar. 20.

TEAGARDEN UPDATE: Backup catcher Taylor Teagarden saw a specialist to check on his back a day after he had an MRI. He received a CT scan, and Showalter doesn't expect him to play in the near future.

If Teagarden is lost for an extended time, Showalter can choose between Ronny Paulino and John Hester. Paulino, who reported three weeks late because of visa issues, played in his first game on Tuesday. He was the designated hitter. Showalter would like to start catching him soon.

"We're trying to go as fast as we can," Showalter said.

COMING UP: The Orioles host Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Jake Arrieta, Jim Johnson, Willie Eyre, Luis Ayala and Kevin Gregg are scheduled to pitch for Baltimore. It will be Johnson and Eyre's first appearances of the spring. The Pirates have scheduled James McDonald, Joel Hanrahan, Jason Grilli, Evan Meek, Jared Hughes and Shairon Martis.

ODDS AND ENDS: A few days after saying that Jason Berken's left hamstring injury was more serious than originally thought, Showalter said that it's now improving rapidly. ... Willie Eyre was called away from camp when his 3-year-old daughter, Lily, was found in a swimming pool. She was rescued and is fine. ... Showalter said that another round of squad cuts was coming in the next few days.