SARASOTA, FLA. — Orioles left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada saw his first Grapefruit League start of the spring Tuesday as an opportunity to show the Baltimore brass he deserved a starting rotation spot.
His spring slowed by left elbow discomfort, he made two previous spring outings – two relief innings on the road against the Braves and a Double-A minor league outing last Thursday – but Tuesday's start would be a more true indicator against a Twins lineup that included six regulars.
But by the end of his start, Wada, a Japanese-born lefty who signed a two-year, $8.14 million contract, was left doubting whether he still had time to reverse his most humbling outing of the spring in a 5-0 loss to the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium.
In just three innings of work, Wada allowed six base runners – four of them scoring – on four hits and two walks. He struggled through some deep Twins at-bats, battling through a 30-pitch second inning.
"I think so," Wada said when asked whether he took a step backward. "If I keep pitching like this, I know I won't be able to throw and be in the starting rotation, I might not even be able to throw in general [for the Orioles] if I keep up throwing like this. I have to work on it."
The Orioles' offense didn't provide much help. Baltimore's bats went the first 7 2/3 innings without a hit until second baseman Robert Andino's eighth-inning double to center field. The Orioles had just four base runners on the day.
Wada, known in Japan for his pinpoint control, issued back-to-back walks in a three-run second inning for the Twins. With Minnesota already leading 1-0 on Luke Hughes' run-scoring single in the first, the walks followed a leadoff base hit by Ben Revere, loading the bases for Jamey Carroll's two-run double. That was followed by Joe Mauer's RBI groundout to make it 4-0.
The Twins added another run in the fifth on Justin Morneau's RBI single off Chris Tillman.
Left-hander Troy Patton threw a perfect fourth inning in relief, and right-handers Pedro Strop and Pat Neshek also pitched scoreless frames for the Orioles (10-10-5).