LAKELAND, Fla. — Right-hander Jake Arrieta pitched two innings and gave up a run on two hits and two walks in his 2011 exhibition debut against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium on Friday, but he didn't seem too concerned about his inconsistent command the first time out.
"I felt great," he said. "It's just that the first time out there at game speed, the sinker's got more life. The fastball has more life to it. The breaking balls were sharp. Now, it's just a matter of being more consistent around the strike zone. My mechanics felt great. Got to get ahead."
Instead, the Tigers jumped ahead when infielder Nick Green lost a pop-up by Brennan Boesch, but a parade of Orioles pitchers held them in check until Nolan Reimold and Jake Fox hit long home runs to propel the Orioles to a 6-2 victory -- their fourth win in five Grapefruit League games. It was the second home run of the exhibition season for each of them.
There had to be a sense of anticipation for Arrieta, considering that he was the last of the Orioles' projected starters to face batters in exhibition action.
"Being one of the last guys to get out there, it just felt like a long time since I've been in a game situation," Arrieta said, "so it felt good to be out there in that environment again and facing live hitters. Just glad that one's out of the way. I'm looking forward to getting stretched out a little bit more, get the pitch count up and work on some things."
Veteran Ryan Drese followed Arrieta to the mound and delivered his second straight solid multi-inning outing. He gave up one hit over two innings four days after making his Orioles debut with two perfect innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton.
The Orioles return to Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday to face the Boston Red Sox. Brad Bergesen will make his second exhibition start. Mark Hendrickson, Jim Johnson, Michael Gonzalez and Clay Rapada also are scheduled to pitch for the Orioles. Alfredo Aceves will start for the Red Sox.