SARASOTA, FLA. — Orioles right-hander Mike Wright Jr. knows someone in his position — out of minor league options and on the roster bubble entering the last week of spring training — doesn't have the luxury of using spring training just to get ready for the season.
He needs results, and after the fifth inning got away from him Saturday, he didn't leave the 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays with good ones.
"It doesn't help, that's for sure," Wright said after allowing four runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. "But leading up to that point, I think I was in a good spot. Hopefully what I did those first four innings helps my case going forward."
Before that fifth inning, Wright's mentality of pitching to contact and using his defense was working. He got a pair of double plays started on line drive outs to center field Adam Jones in the first and third innings that helped erase runners, and had cruised other than a tricky third until that fifth inning.
But after an opening flyout, the Blue Jays scored three runs on a pair of singles, a triple and a fielder's choice to spell the end for Wright.
"I may have been a little fatigued in the last inning — even though I felt good, I felt strong," Wright said. "The pitches maybe weren't quite as sharp. The swings I was getting weren't the swings I was getting in the first few innings. But leading up to that point, I felt pretty good. ... It was good to stay out there and try to fight when things start hitting the wall."
The 73-pitch outing leaves Wright entering the final week of spring having allowed eight runs on 16 hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings over five appearances. He's currently in the mix for a rotation spot as the Orioles' fifth starter, joined by Miguel Castro and Nestor Cortes Jr. as leading candidates.
Wright hopes that more than just the problems in the fifth inning Saturday are considered for his candidacy.
"If I could have stopped after those first four innings, we'd be having a lot different conversation here," Wright said. "But the fact of the matter is I'm going to be going five, six innings in the season. It's definitely something to work on, but I'm not like some people who have the luxury of working on stuff. I need results, so hopefully next time is a little bit better."