Loewen keeps it going
In his last extended start of the spring, Orioles left-hander Adam Loewen pitched six solid innings yesterday, allowing one earned run on three hits and a walk in the Orioles' 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. His only blemish came in the fourth inning when Michael Cuddyer hit a one-out double and then scored on Justin Morneau's single up the middle. "I felt like in the third I kind of hit a wall," said Loewen, who is 3-1 with a 1.42 ERA this spring. "As the game went on, it just felt like I got stronger. It took me by surprise a little bit. I thought I was getting tired, but I got stronger."
Ponson also good
Looking to solidify his spot in the Twins rotation, Sidney Ponson had his second strong start against his former teammates this spring, shutting out the Orioles through six innings. He allowed five hits while striking out three, lowering his spring ERA to 3.94. Ponson is projected to be Minnesota's No. 4 starter. The Orioles erased a 1-0 deficit by scoring four runs in the seventh inning on a two-run double by catcher Ramon Hernandez and RBI singles by Cesar Crespo and Freddie Bynum. Nick Markakis hit his third home run this spring in the eighth, which hit the foul pole in right field.
Even with his RBI single, Bynum, who is trying to win a bench job on the Orioles' Opening Day roster, didn't help his cause in the first inning yesterday. He got picked off at third for the second out after coming in as a pinch runner when Jay Payton left with a hamstring injury. If he were to make the team, pinch running would be one of his main roles, so yesterday's blunder wasn't a good sign. Bynum has gotten plenty of chances this spring and has shined defensively, but he's hitting just .146 and giving club officials too many reasons not to keep him.
Orioles right-hander Steve Trachsel will start today as the Orioles play host to the Florida Marlins at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. The Marlins will send out minor leaguer Rick Vanden Hurk.