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Orioles' Andrew Cashner puts stuff, consistency on display in first two spring starts

PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA. — Andrew Cashner spent the first two weeks of his Orioles tenure showing that he hoped to be an asset in the clubhouse for a starting rotation that had lost its way. After two Grapefruit League starts, he's showing he can help plenty on the mound, too.

Cashner scattered four hits and allowing one run in five innings while striking out three in the Orioles' 4-4 tie with the New York Mets on Friday at First Data Field, pitching so efficiently that he added onto his 63 pitches in the game with 15 more in the bullpen after.

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In two starts, in which he has allowed just one run on five hits in nine innings, the most important thing about Cashner's presence has become clear to manager Buck Showalter.

When the Orioles needed to fill out two rosters on a split-squad day Sunday, the young pitching that they brought made it a day officials at every level of the organization were proud of.

"I think that what wore on us last year more than anything is the constant, 'How much is going to be enough tonight? What are we getting?’ The unknown of the starts. ‘I wonder if this guy is going to be able to keep us engaged in the game tonight,’ ” Showalter said. “The other part of it, Cash will bring. Whether or not on a given night, he's going to have some challenges. But it won't be from lack of focus and effort and being ready. He's not going to fear the competition."

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He's only done it in an Orioles uniform twice in the Grapefruit League, but Showalter sees the type of mindset and arsenal that can keep his team in games every night.

Cashner is able to sink the ball for bad contact and locate his two-seam inside and out early in counts to get ahead. He brought along a good breaking ball and changeup Friday, and pounded the strike zone.

"I think the thing that people miss is he's got a lot of ways to get you out," Showalter said. "If you go back through the pitches today, it's not just sinking it. He's got changeups, breaking balls. He's not a one-way Harry. But he's capable of pitching like that on a given night."

Orioles shortstop Manny Machado said the tampering charges against Yankees star Aaron Judge were overblown as he continued to swing a hot bat in a 4-4 tie with the New York Mets.

The only damage off Cashner came quickly, when he fanned the first two batters in the third inning before allowing a two-out double off the left-field wall to Asdrúbal Cabrera, who scored when Jay Bruce singled on the next pitch.

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But Showalter and Cashner are pleased with the right-hander’s spring so far.

"I thought I worked both sides of the plate," Cashner said. "I worked the ball up. I was really working on my breaking ball today, thought I threw some good ones. I got a lot of ground balls, and got the sinker up at the top of the zone. It's fun to work with Caleb [Joseph]. ... For me, it's a process. It's not so much [just] spring. The season is just a process of building up and doing what I need to do to build up. I think that for me, it starts with my glove-side fastball and everything works off that. I'm pleased with where I'm at. Can I get better? Yes. We'll see where we're at here at the end of spring."

Cashner left with a 2-1 lead after the Orioles scored two runs in the sixth on a home run by third baseman Tim Beckham, a walk by center fielder Colby Rasmus and a double by shortstop Manny Machado into the right-field corner that brought Rasmus home on an error.

Cabrera homered off left-hander Donnie Hart to tie the score in the eighth, and rookie Anthony Santander swatted a two-run home run, his fourth of the spring, to put the Orioles ahead after a single by Aderlin Rodriguez in the ninth.

In the bottom of the inning, minor league right-hander James Teague, who has developed into something of a Grapefruit League closer, allowed a pair of unearned runs and the game ended in a tie.

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