FORT MYERS, Fla. — — New Orioles ace Kevin Millwood spent his second Grapefruit League start much as he spent his first - up to his eyes in line drives.
Millwood got rocked again in a 2 2/3 -inning appearance against the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium on Thursday night, giving up five runs on nine hits and leaving the mound with an exhibition ERA of 29.70. Not very impressive, especially coming after he allowed six runs in just two-thirds of an inning in his spring debut.
"I stink in spring training," Millwood said afterward. "I'm really not a very good spring training pitcher. I don't try to win any awards in spring training."
Millwood just wanted to improve on his first time out, and he did that, reaching his 60-pitch limit before giving way to relief prospect Wilfrido Perez.
"Physically, I've been fine both times out," Millwood said. "Mechanically, I felt I gained some ground. That's what I'm looking for right now ... to get a little better every time out."
It's only March, of course, and Millwood is working himself into regular-season shape, but the back-to-back shaky outings are certain to create anxiety among Orioles fans who are looking forward to his providing leadership at the head of the club's young rotation.
"I hope they don't read too much into it," Millwood said. "If they do, hopefully I can change their minds on Opening Day."
Roberts: been there before
There's a reason second baseman Brian Roberts
still seems unconcerned that he might not be able to play enough this spring to get ready to start the regular season on time.
When Roberts was recovering from a serious elbow injury in the spring of 2006, he did not make his first exhibition appearance until March 21. He would play in a total of 10 spring games and bat .353 (12-for-34) with four doubles.
"That was the year of my elbow," Roberts said. "I had no concerns about that either, and I was more concerned then because I was coming off something that certainly was a lot more major than this - at this point. I'm not coming off anything like that; it's just trying to get your body to the point where it's 100 percent."
Roberts underwent surgery Sept 30, 2005, to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament and repair a torn tendon. Then-manager Sam Perlozzo put him back into the lineup for the last two weeks of the exhibition season and played him on a two-days-on, one-day-off schedule.
If the timetable gets tight, look for manager Dave Trembley to get Roberts some extra at-bats in camp games on the back fields at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
Roberts was scheduled to be examined by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens on Wednesday, but the team buses left for Fort Myers before Trembley could get the results.
The forecast for today is heavy rain in the Sarasota area, so there's a chance that the Orioles' exhibition game against the Florida Marlins will be canceled. Look for the decision to be made very early, since the Marlins have to travel across the state.
Utility infielder Robert Andino
has been struggling at the plate this spring. He homered in the intrasquad game two weeks ago but had just one hit in his first 15 exhibition at-bats before launching a one-out home run off Twins starter Scott Baker
in the third inning and hitting a triple in the fifth.
Around the horn
The club will hold a "B" game against Pittsburgh on Sunday at Pirate City in Bradenton. That'll provide an extra nine innings for the pitchers in camp. Jake Arrieta
will start that game. ... Trembley said he was pleased with the performance of Brad Bergesen
in Bradenton on Wednesday night. "He was disappointed," Trembley said. "I wasn't."