Before Orioles infielder Steve Tolleson arrived at spring training last month, he received some advice from his father, Wayne, who briefly played for Orioles manager Buck Showalter in the minor leagues.

"Try not to worry about tomorrow," Tolleson said his father told him. "That's the toughest thing, especially being a bubble guy or someone competing for a position, you think about why this guy is starting and I'm not? That's just stuff that's out of your control and when you are given the opportunity whether it's in the seventh inning or to play defense for one inning, you have to go out and make a positive impression on that day."


The 28-year-old Tolleson is competing with Rule 5 pick Ryan Flaherty and offseason addition Matt Antonelli for the team's utility infielder spot. Tolleson signed with the Orioles as a minor-league free agent in November. He's played in 18 games, which is tied for second most on the team, but most of those appearances have been as a late-inning sub.

"I think I've done a really good job this spring," said Tolleson, who is hitting .269 (7-for-26) while playing third, second and shortstop this spring. "I've taken advantage of a lot of opportunities I've been given. When you get in late in the game, a lot of times you're being put in when the game's on the line and I think I've come through a couple times offensively and defensively. I definitely think I've raised some eyes."

Wayne Tolleson, a former utility player with the Rangers, White Sox and Yankees, played under Showalter for the minor league Fort Lauderdale Yankees in 1988. Showalter has joked that managing the son of a player he's managed means he's getting old.

"He may say it's a sign of getting old," Steve Tolleson said. "I think it's a sign that you're a pretty good manager. He's a great manager. He's been around the game a long time and he's very well respected. One of the biggest differences I've seen in this clubhouse versus other ones is that when Buck speaks he commands attention. Everyone listens."

Arrieta gives solid start

Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta retired 12 straight Nationals batters at one point, throwing five innings of four-hit, one-run ball .

"I settled in a little more as the game went on," Arrieta said. "(I) was throwing across my body a little bit at the start of the game, felt uncomfortable there for a little while, but I was able to get outs, had that walk in the first. Other than that, I forced contact. Got behind a few guys, but even the 2-0, 2-1 counts, was able to make quality pitches away. Get some ground balls, get some popups. I kept guys off base when I needed to. I got some big ground balls and threw strikes."

Arrieta, a top contender to be the Orioles' Opening Day starter, who last threw four extended innings (16 outs) in a minor league game on Monday, concentrated on throwing his breaking ball for strikes on Saturday, he said.

"You're going to have a bunch of days like that throughout the season," he said. "You just got to find ways to throw quality strikes and keep guys off balance with the offspeed even though on certain days like that you're not able to rack up the strikeouts. As long as you limit the walks and keep guys off base for free, you can still have success even if you feel a little bad."

Orioles stick to original plan with Markakis

Showalter considering giving Nick Markakis a second consecutive day in the lineup Saturday by starting him at DH, but he stuck to the original plan devised for Markakis at the beginning of spring.

It would have been Markakis' first action in back-to-back games after spending most of the spring recovering from offseason abdominal surgery.

"I can see the light at the end of the tunnel so I'm getting close," Markakis said. "It's definitely getting better. There are days I feel it and days I don't. That's a good sign. It's coming and going and hopefully is will be gone pretty soon.

"I'm definitely starting to feel comfortable with every movement I make," he added. "It's just a slow process day to day and we're definitely right where we wanted to be. I can't complain at all."


Markakis will make his next start on Monday night against the Pirates in Bradenton.

Bats come to life in win over Nats

The Orioles' starting 3-4-5 hitters — Wilson Betemit, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters — were a combined 10-for-10 with nine RBIs in Saturday afternoon's 12-3 victory over the Nationals.

Wieters, who came into the game hitting .129 with just one RBI, was 4-for-4 with six RBIs, including a three-run homerin the third inning off Edwin Jackson, who allowed 11 hits and 10 runs (7 earned) in 3 2/3 innings.

Jones and Betemit were both 3-for-3, as was No. 9 hitter Robert Andino. Nolan Reimold hit his first home run of the spring, a solo shot in the fifth.

"This is just about the stage of spring where the bats start catching up with some of the pitching," Showalter said. "It's usually around that 30 to 40 plate appearance spot in the spring."

Willis struggles in debut

New acquisition Dontrelle Willis made his Orioles debut in the sixth inning, and went on to walk the first three hitters he faced , throwing balls on 12 of his first 16 pitches.

Willis, signed Tuesday after he was released by the Phillies, didn't yield a hit but allowed two runs but only one was earned because of a Mark Reynolds throwing error.

"Try to keep in mind it's been eightdays since he's pitched and he should have gotten out of the inning unscathed if we could defend," Showalter said.

Around the horn

Orioles owner Peter Angelos visited the team's clubhouse before Saturday's game and was given his first official tour of the team's newly renovated baseball operations center. "It was great having him here," Showalter said. "The players were excited. They enjoyed having him here." … Showalter said OF Endy Chavez (groin) is getting better each day and he could miss a few more days. … LHP Tsuyoshi Wada is scheduled to make his second Grapefruit League appearance on Tuesday. … RHP Jason Berken (hamstring) is slated to pitch Sunday at the Phillies. … RHP Alfredo Simon (groin) will throw a bullpen Sunday.

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