LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland was more concerned about his young pitchers on Friday than the outcome of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Rick Porcello gave him reasons to be pleased. Everyone else was another matter.
Porcello retired the first eight batters he faced and tossed three scoreless innings, before Nolan Reimold and Jake Fox homered to lead the Orioles to a 6-2 win.
``It's early for all of them,' said Leyland, who used six pitchers in the game. ``We didn't hit much. I thought Porcello was good, better. I liked that. I thought he threw the ball well.
``I thought he looked like he should look for his second outing.'
Porcello will likely face the Tigers in his first start of the regular season.
``I've just got to keep grinding on it, working on it in bullpen and make sure I'm ready to go,' he said. ``The mindset of being relaxed but also being aggressive on the mound, I think it carries over from start to start.'
Detroit came into the game with a major league-low 2.01 ERA this spring, but the guys who followed Porcello to the mound sure had some trouble.
Reimold sent a three-run shot to left off Tigers reliever Charlie Furbush in the sixth inning, and Fox added his second of the spring off Alberto Alburquerque in the eighth. Reimold and Fox have now accounted for half the Orioles' eight homers through five games.
``So far, so good,' said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose team returns to Sarasota to face the Red Sox on Saturday.
The Tigers scored first when rookie Andy Dirks, trying to make the roster as a backup outfielder, doubled with one out in the first. He scored when shortstop Nick Green lost a high fly ball by designated hitter Brennan Boesch and it fell for a single.
Detroit's other run came with two outs in the ninth when first baseman Ryan Strieby hit a solo homer to left, giving him the team lead with four RBIs this spring.
Strieby, a 25-year-old prospect whose natural path to the majors is blocked by Miguel Cabrera, has impressed Leyland with a quick swing.
Taiwanese reliever Fu-Te Ni hasn't allowed a run in three appearances for Detroit. He got the final four outs of the game and has given up one hit in 3 1-3 innings.
Detroit rested most of its regulars in anticipation of split-squad road games Saturday in Dunedin and Kissimmee. Leyland will be in Kissimmee to watch Justin Verlander make his second spring appearance against the Astros, while Cabrera and Austin Jackson will be among those playing against the Blue Jays.
NOTES: Daniel Schlereth, who injured his left hamstring Monday and hasn't pitched since, said he threw long toss Friday. ``It doesn't have to be 100 percent,' he said. ``It's not like I'm running sprints all over the place. I just want to be able to pitch.' Leyland also didn't have a timetable for the return of Joel Zumaya or Carlos Guillen. ... Taiwanese reliever Fu-Te Ni hasn't allowed a run in three spring appearances. He retired the final four batters of the game, striking out one. He's allowed one hit in 3.1 innings. ... Orioles LHP Brian Matusz had a wart removed from the middle finger of his left hand on Friday in Philadelphia. He's expected back in camp on Saturday and should be throwing within a few days. ...Baltimore 1B Derrek Lee, who's recovering from off-season surgery on his right thumb, still won't play Saturday because of soreness just above his right wrist. ... Orioles LHP Justin Duchscherer, who's been sidelined with an injury to his left hip, will throw batting practice on Saturday and could pitch Tuesday.
The Associated Press News Service
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