Second baseman hits RBI double; righty satisfied with Grapefruit performance
By Mark Bowman and Brittany Ghiroli
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles capped another Spring Training in Sarasota with a 3-2 win over the Braves on Friday night at Ed Smith Stadium.
Oriole starter Ubaldo Jimenez, making his first home start this spring, held Atlanta to one run and three hits over four innings in the 61-pitch outing. He was hit in the right ankle in the beginning of the second inning but stayed in the game.
Braves starter Shelby Miller surrendered three runs, including a fifth-inning homer to Alejandro De Aza, in his final spring start. The O's had a pair of runs in the second inning, including an RBI single by Everth Cabrera.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Jimenez states his case for rotation: The righty rebounded from a rocky first-inning and retired 11 of his final 12. Working with a simplified delivery all spring, Jimenez walked just one and has really honed in his control over his past few outings. The Orioles have yet to officially name their fifth starter, but Jimenez has made a nice case for himself during the Grapefruit League.
"Since the first day that I got here, I was able to improve," Jimenez said. "I got better and better with my command, and I have all my pitches working right now."
Miller proves resilient: After allowing singles to four of the first six batters he faced in the second inning, Miller allowed just one more hit -- De Aza's fifth-inning leadoff homer -- over the remainder of his five-inning stint. The right-hander allowed five runs over his final 23 Grapefruit League innings.
Peterson delivers again:Jace Peterson has continued to impress since essentially establishing himself as Atlanta's starting second baseman during the early days of Spring Training. Peterson's first-inning double off Jimenez gave the Braves an early lead and added to the recent success of the athletic infielder, who has batted .324 (22-for-68) in Grapefruit League games.
Cabrera flashes the leather: After a rocky start to the spring, Cabrera has settled in quite nicely. A lock to make the Opening Day roster given that shortstop J.J. Hardy will start on the disabled list, Cabrera made a pair of nice plays in the field and drove in a run.
"I know it was a really tough year for me last year, and being able to get better and better, I proved to myself that if I can command my fastball, I can get people out. So I'm happy about it." -- Jimenez on his final spring start
"This is one of the strongest springs I've had. I feel good, and pitches feel really good going into the season, which is always a plus. Overall, I feel great." -- Miller
The Orioles and Braves will square off for the third consecutive game on Saturday afternoon in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The O's will send Zach Davies to the mound, and Atlanta will counter with Eric Stults in the spring finale. Stults gained a spot in Atlanta's rotation when Wandy Rodriguez was released on Friday.