SARASOTA, FLA. — Right-hander Bud Norris was roughed up for four runs in one inning of work in his spring debut Saturday afternoon as the Orioles lost to a Boston Red Sox split-squad team, 7-6, in an exhibition game at Ed Smith Stadium before an announced sellout crowd of 8,526.
Norris allowed five of the first six Boston batters he faced to reach base, capped by Blake Swihart's three-run homer.
His spot in the starting rotation secured after a 15-win season in 2014, Norris said he wanted to work on locating his fastball on both sides of the plate, as well as his changeup.
"I've come a long ways in my career to get to that point, but sitting down and talking to [pitching coach Dave] Wallace and [bullpen coach Dom] Chiti coming into camp, we knew there were some things we knew we wanted to attack and really work on. So that's my opportunity to do it," he said. "Every time I have a the chance in a game or on the back fields to get some work in, that's what I want to do: work on those last couple pitches and keep improving. The results weren't great today, but at the end of the day, I'm healthy, and that's what counts."
After Jackie Bradley Jr. led off the game with a single, former Oriole Jemile Weeks drove in the first run of the day with a triple into the left-center-field gap. Norris then walked Allen Craig, and two batters later, Swihart hit a fly ball that carried in the wind and sailed over the right-field fence.
"I didn't really have a scouting report going in," Norris said. "I'm trying to work on the things I'm trying to work on. This is my opportunity to have weeks to work on the pitches I need to work on, specifically the changeup. You're trying to throw fastballs to both sides of the plate. A lot of these hitters, I don't know. Some of the younger guys, I haven't seen before. If I see them this year, I'll have to do more homework.
"Physically and mechanically, I think I was going too fast. I'll go look at the film and slow myself down. It's like getting the training wheels on to get back out there. I'll pick up and get ready to go tomorrow."
Norris was scheduled to go two innings but was removed after just one. He threw 30 pitches, 15 of them for strikes, in the game and threw an additional 10 in the bullpen to meet his pitch count of 40.
Chris Davis drove in two runs for the Orioles (2-4), hitting an RBI single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Dariel Alvarez hit a three-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning to cut the deficit to one.
Former Orioles pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, who was dealt to the Red Sox (2-2) at the trade deadline last year, threw three perfect innings against his former team Saturday.
Rodriguez retired all nine Orioles hitters he faced in dominating fashion, striking out three while displaying a fastball that sat between 94 and 96 mph.
The 21-year-old left-hander, the Orioles' No. 3 overall prospect last season, was traded to the Red Sox on July 31 in exchange for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller.
In his second spring outing, top Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy allowed two runs on three hits with two walks over 1 2/3 innings.