SARASOTA, FLA. — Bud Norris knows his pitching lines haven't looked good this spring, but the Orioles right-hander said the mechanical adjustments and secondary pitches he's working on here will even out his results once games matter.
Tuesday, Norris suffered his third rocky start of the spring, allowing three runs – including two homers – on five hits over four innings of work. He struck out one and walked one in a 10-7 Orioles loss to the Minnesota Twins. Norris has allowed 10 runs over 7 2/3 Grapefruit League innings, issuing five walks and striking out four.
"It's not about the numbers right now,"he said. "It's tough, you want to go up there and put up a bunch of zeros but it's not necessarily your No. 1 priority right now. You get 30 starts up there to make sure you get a lot of good numbers, but down here you are getting your work in. I felt great, the fastball is coming along great. And I just want to keep going."
Through three spring training starts, Norris -- who won a career-high 15 games last season -- has an 11.74 ERA.
Norris wasn't helped by a breezy afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium. Both homers he allowed – Trevor Plouffe's leadoff solo shot in the second inning and Eduardo Nunez's two-out blast in the fourth -- were to the left side of the field, where a constant wind was blowing out.
"Maybe the second one stays in the ballpark," Norris said of the wind. "The first one was a really bad pitch. Maybe the second one stays in the ballpark and I get out of the inning and it takes two runs off the board.
"I wouldn't say [the wind] affected me. Going through my work every five days, still going through camp the way I want to, feeling good, I'm still going through camp the way I want to. It's a good sign, I get through camp the way I want to, get the pitch count up, working on a lot of things mechanically, felt a little shaky out of the windup. I felt really strong out of the stretch."
After the Orioles went up on Chris Davis' second opposite-field homer in as many games in the first inning, Plouffe took a 0-1 breaking ball over the left-field fence.
Norris retired the first two batters he faced in the fourth inning but then allowed a triple by Eddie Rosario. Designated hitter Eduardo Nunez then blasted an 0-1, 93-mph fastball over the left-center field fence to give the Twins a 3-1 lead.
Norris said he he's working on his timing with his front leg in his delivery, and he's working on the feel of his changeup. He noted that he got ahead of Rosario 0-2 before the triple and delivered five changeups in that at-bat. He said he would have tried to put away Rosario on a slider if it was the regular season.
"I'm working on pitches and that to me is what I'm trying to see," Norris said. "When I'm getting nods back from [catcher Matt Wieters] behind the plate saying, 'Hey that's a good pitch, that's what we're looking for, that's the result I want to see.' It's obviously a situation where I would be throwing a slider or something over the inner half of the plate there to get a guy out, but knowing the results with the changeups are there I can't be mad at myself and strength-wise and endurance-wise I'm getting there."