Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta makes final spring tuneup in minor league game

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Despite pitching with a blister on his middle finger that prevented him from throwing breaking balls, Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta felt good about his final tune-up before Friday’s regular season home opener against the Minnesota Twins.

Arrieta threw five innings against a collection of Orioles minor leaguers, throwing fastballs and changeups exclusively. Arrieta said the blister should be fine by Friday.

“Just didn’t throw the slider or the curveball today because those two pitches put pressure on the inside of my middle finger and it needs a couple days for that nail to grow out and let that skin to generate, but I’m all good to go,” Arrieta said.” Just fastball changeup [today] and I was very efficient. I’m looking forward to next Friday.”

Arrieta said he believes he’s tackled the issues that manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair wanted him to work on this spring – improving his time to the plate while keeping command down in the zone and pitching effectively from both the windup and the stretch.

“I really commanded my sinker to both sides of the plate and I’ve quickened my times to the plate,” Arrieta said. “I’ve gotten to around 1.2 [seconds] to the plate with good velocity and good life, and that’s a good sign.

“Everything’s compact and controlled,” Arrieta said. “I feel very confident being on the mound in the stretch and in the windup.  I feel very confident and capable from both aspects of my delivery. Everyone knows that was something I needed to clean up a bit and I’ve done that this spring. I’m right where I need to be.”

Orioles pitchers Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman also aggravated blisters on their pitching hands during pitching minor league games on Sunday, but they aren’t expected to be a problem.

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