Making his first Grapefruit League start of the spring, right-hander Miguel Gonzalez was roughed up for seven runs on eight hits over 1 1/3 innings in the Orioles’ 10-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park.
Ten of the 13 batters Gonzalez faced reached base, and a two-run homer by Tampa Bay designated hitter Corey Dickerson was the key in a four-run second inning.
“They didn’t even let me breathe out there,” Gonzalez said. “It was tough. They were swinging at that first pitch. The positive side is that I didn’t walk anyone and physically I feel fine. I’m ready to go. It was just a tough one to think about.
"Obviously, the results weren’t there. The fastball was up. I’m happy with my fastball and split. Other than that, I’m feeling good.”
Gonzalez’s start came after right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez was rocked for six runs over one-third of an inning in Wednesday’s home opener. Over the past two games, Orioles starters have allowed 13 runs over 1 2/3 innings.
“We’ve still got a long way,” Gonzalez said. “This is the start for us. Mentally we’ve got to be strong and forget about this start and hopefully have better results for the next one.”
Former Orioles infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce, who signed a one-year, $4.75 million deal with the Rays this offseason, had an RBI double off Gonzalez in the first inning. “He was a big part of our organization last year and the last couple of years,” Gonzalez said. "He's a tough out. I gave him a good pitch to hit, and he took advantage of it, and hopefully I'll get to face him again. I like facing guys that definitely have good talent. Very aggressive guy out there."
Feeling at home
Orioles Rule 5 draft pick Joey Rickard knows the outfield of Charlotte Sports Park well. As a Rays farmhand, he opened last season playing for the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs before working his way up to Triple-A. Rickard singled in the first inning and was credited with an RBI when a run scored on a fielding error in the sixth. In the fifth inning, Rickard made a nice sliding catch in shallow center field to rob Taylor Motter of a single. Rickard and Motter played together last season at Triple-A Durham.
A bomb off Bundy
Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy made his Grapefruit League debut in the fifth inning and his first pitch was crushed over the center-field fence by Rays center fielder Brandon Guyer. Bundy recovered, however, retiring the next three hitters he faced on flyouts. Manager Buck Showalter said that Bundy's fastball velocity was the best he has seen since Bundy's Tommy John elbow reconstruction in 2013.
Kim still hitless
Left fielder Hyun Soo Kim, who is the only Orioles player to play in all three spring games so far, was 0-for-3 with a strikeout Wednesday. He is now hitless in nine Grapefruit League at-bats, but will get a previously scheduled day off when the Orioles travel to Dunedin to play the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.