SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles didn’t waste any time putting first baseman Derrek Lee in an RBI situation.
Lee made his Orioles debut in Saturday’s 7-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, batting third and going 0 for 1 with a walk and a run scored against left-hander Cole Hamels. Lee had been sidelined all spring with soreness in his right wrist.
He came to the plate in the bottom of the first with two runners on base and no outs, and drew a walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count. Lee came around to score on Randy Winn’s ground ball.
Lee fanned in the second inning on another full count after Hamels got two quick strikes. Jake Fox pinch-hit for Lee in the fourth.
“It feels great,” said Lee, who will get three at-bats Sunday against the Rays in Port Charlotte. “I was happy. (The wrist) wasn’t an issue. I didn’t feel it swinging. I kind of landed on it going for a ball and didn’t feel it. I was happy with it.
“I think Cole was working on his changeup and slider today. I was able to see some pitches and go deep in the count. I felt all right. I saw the ball pretty good. I can’t complain. I wasn’t going to be too hard on myself either way today.”
The Phillies scored twice off left-hander Michael Gonzalez in the seventh, including Erik Kratz’s tie-breaking homer.
John Mayberry Jr. hit his fifth spring home run, and third against the Orioles, after Ross Gload singled in the second inning off Orioles starter Jake Arrieta. Mayberry took over the team lead with 11 RBIs, one more than Ryan Howard, who didn’t make the trip.
Shane Victorino greeted reliever Clay Rapada with a three-run shot in the fifth inning that tied the score at 5-5. Two of those runs were charged to Arrieta.
Vladimir Guerrero went 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs for the Orioles. His third hit came against former Orioles reliever Danys Baez, who replaced Hamels with two outs in the fourth.
Lee signed a one-year, $7.25 million contract with Baltimore on Jan. 6. He was recovering from surgery in November to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb sustained on opening day last year with the Chicago Cubs.
The cast caused Lee’s right wrist to atrophy, which led to soreness in spring training that forced the Orioles to shut him down and later restrict him to hitting soft toss and off a tee. X-rays and a magnetic resonance imaging test didn’t reveal any structural damage, but Lee needed to reduce the inflammation before he could play.
Asked if he will be ready for the April 1 opener, Lee said, “I have no choice, right? I’ll get 10 games or so. I’ll try to get as many at-bats as I can.”
Hamels, who gave up five runs and seven hits, has a 6.23 ERA this spring.
“Even though you get to build up your pitches, it would be nice to be able to have those quick, easy innings,” Hamels said. “I don’t think I’m allowing myself to do that because I’m not getting first-pitch strikes, or when I get first-pitch strikes, then all of a sudden I throw three balls in a row. I’m not putting myself in a really good count.”
NOTES: Orioles 2B Brian Roberts is on the travel roster for Sunday’s game. He hasn’t played since March 7 because of back spasms … The Orioles reduced their camp roster to 40 by optioning INF Brandon Snyder, OF Matt Angle and P Wynn Pelzer, and reassigning INF Ryan Adams and P Armando Gabino.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)