Wright quickly gets up to speed in spring debut


March 05, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. -- Before Orioles starter Jaret Wright even threw his first pitch yesterday, Garrett Olson was warming up in the team's bullpen. It was an ominous sign, but the Orioles are taking no chances with Wright, who has a history of shoulder problems and has struggled slightly this spring in getting his arm loose.

"Some guys have a little trouble early on," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "Some guys go through that. He's working his way through it. He's fine."

In his Orioles debut, Wright, the 31-year-old right-hander the club acquired from the New York Yankees this offseason to add experience to the rotation, started and pitched one scoreless inning, allowing one hit and one walk in the Orioles' 6-3 victory over the New York Mets yesterday at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

"I felt OK for the first day," said Wright, who allowed a leadoff walk to David Newhan but then picked the former Oriole off second base. "My location was definitely off. You can't walk the leadoff guy. [Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone] was probably pleased with that. But other than that, I felt all right."

That was the important thing for Perlozzo, who said Wright's workload will increase the next time out.

"We were a little worried about him, but the adrenaline kicked in and I thought he threw the ball really well," Perlozzo said. "He turned the ball loose with good velocity, and I was tickled to see it."

Newhan returns

Newhan had an eventful day against his former team, going 1-for-4 with a walk, a run and a strikeout. Playing third base, he made an errant throw to second on Chris Gomez's fielder's-choice groundout in the Orioles' five-run third inning.

Before the game, Newhan greeted many of his former teammates and said he was disappointed that the Orioles didn't tender him a contract after he played parts of three seasons for them.

"It's the business side of things," he said. "I don't know if [I felt] led astray, but they were talking like they were going to sign me back and tender me the whole offseason, and then it comes down to a day or two days before the tender date and it doesn't happen. I don't know if it was a miscommunication or what."

Dempsey back in camp

Rick Dempsey, who started last season as the Orioles' bullpen coach and then moved to first base, arrived at spring training yesterday excited about his new role.

Dempsey will be in uniform at times to throw batting practice and help Perlozzo, but his main job will be with the Orioles' broadcasting team at Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

"I hate being away from the field," Dempsey said. "I am always going to be in touch with it some way."

Around the horn

Hayden Penn threw his second bullpen session since spraining his left ankle last week and pronounced himself ready to throw in an exhibition game. Penn, one of the organization's top pitching prospects, needs a good spring to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster. He said he'll probably pitch Wednesday after Erik Bedard. ... Outfielder Adam Stern and catcher Paul Bako are still considered day-to-day with strained oblique injuries. ... Mark Pieper, the agent for Brian Roberts, is expected to meet with Orioles officials sometime today to try to work out a contract extension for the second baseman.


Sun reporter Roch Kubatko contributed to this article.

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