Jayson Aquino has just two Grapefruit League appearances this spring training, but the Orioles left-hander has already drawn manager Buck Showalter’s attention. 

Aquino’s dominating two-inning relief performance was the highlight of the Orioles’ 7-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday afternoon at Spectrum Field. Aquino has thrown four scoreless innings and allowed just two base runners. 

Pitching against the Phillies starters on Tuesday, the 24-year-old Aquino retired six of the seven batters he faced, including four by strikeout. 

Acquired for cash last April in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals, Aquino retired seven of the eight hitters he faced in two brief stints with the Orioles in 2016, but still entered camp as a dark horse.

“He’s got a good presentation and I didn’t see that last year,” Showalter said. “He’s got a feel for the breaking ball now that he didn’t have. … He’s been the highlight to the early part of this year for me. You can see why Dan liked him and wanted to keep him on the roster. He’s a pretty interesting guy.”

Of the four batters Aquino struck out Tuesday, three of them – Howie Kendrick, Maikel Franco and Cameron Rupp – are Phillies starters. 

When Aquino was called up last season – he came up briefly in July and then again in September – the Orioles were looking for a lefty to help in the bullpen, but Showalter said Aquino has potential to work his way into a spot starter role at the major league level. 

He spent most of last year at Double-A Bowie, going 5-12 with a 3.90 ERA in 20 games (19 starts), and then was promoted to Triple-A Norfolk, where he went 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five starts.

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“He’s a starter presentation because of the changeup and the ability to finish off against right-handed hitters,” Showalter said. “We’re going to run him out there every fifth day, somewhere out there. We’ll see where it takes us. He’s a potential depth piece for us.”

Orioles blow lead in loss: The Orioles (2-3 Grapefruit League) blew a two-run eighth-inning lead, allowing four runs by 2016 first-round draft pick Cody Sedlock, who was shuttled in from minor league camp to make his first Grapefruit League appearance.

Sedlock, the 27th pick in last year’s draft out of Illinois, was hit hard, allowing a two-run homer to Brock Stassi and a solo homer to Aaron Altherr

The Orioles broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning on catcher Yermin Mercedes’ two-out single followed by a run-scoring double by minor league infielder Sean Coyle.

Wright allows two runs in first outing: Orioles right-hander Mike Wright ran into trouble in the second inning of his first Grapefruit League start, allowing a two-run homer to first baseman Tommy Joseph

Joseph's home run came after Michael Saunders reached on a fielding error by Orioles second baseman Johnny Giavotella. Wright had retired the first four batters he faced.

"I threw a lot of good pitches, and I'm really happy with some of the pitches I threw," Wright said. "That pitch, I wish I could have back, but I'm really happy with the progression I've made as far as mindset and going out there and executing pitches."

Twenty-six of Wright's 33 pitches were strikes.

"Yeah, it's good to get out there," Wright said. "It feels like it's been forever. That's the longest I've ever had between starts, but it's fun to be out there and it's good that I was throwing strikes."

Dickerson goes deep: Right fielder Chris Dickerson – one of four non-roster outfielders looking to earn a bench spot on the Opening Day roster – has been impressive thus far.

Dickerson, who was batting leadoff, hit his first home run of the spring — a solo shot in the third inning off Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez on a 1-1 pitch. It cut Philadelphia’s lead to 2-1.

He also made nice play in right field, quickly cutting off a sure double by Howie Kendrick down the line.

eencina@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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