Orioles 6, Pirates 5

After concussions, back problems and right hip surgery limited
Brian Roberts to 115 games over the past three seasons, the
Baltimore Orioles are hoping he can regain his All-Star form.

Roberts had a leadoff home run and two other hits, Nolan Reimold
and Wilson Betemit connected for consecutive home runs and the
Orioles beat a Pittsburgh Pirates’ split squad 6-5 Friday.

In 2012, Roberts made a comeback from his second concussion, but
it was truncated after 17 games when his hip flared up.

”I think everything from my standpoint right now is
confidence-builders,” Roberts said.

”To know your bat speed is still there, that you can still do
things you used to be able to do when you haven’t played in a
little while. So, it’s not necessarily all result-driven by any
means but certainly, to be able to square balls up consistently and
drive balls, I think so far that’s been a positive.”

Manager Buck Showalter has noticed that Roberts is happy with
how his spring has gone.

”You can tell that Brian enjoys being back in the flow, but you
also know it’s very early,” Showalter said.

”We’re four-plus weeks away from starting the season. It’s a
long way, but he’s moving very well,” he said.

Roberts was an All-Star second baseman in 2005 and 2007. He is 6
for 11 this spring.

Roberts homered in the first inning against James McDonald. He
hasn’t hit a regular season home run since 2011.

”It’s good to see him back. It’s very frustrating for a guy who
wants to be out there and can’t be out there,” Orioles starter
Jason Hammel said.

Reimold, who missed most of last year after neck surgery, hit a
two-run homer in the second ahead of Betemit’s homer. He left the
game after the homer with a sore right shoulder.

McDonald allowed four runs and six hits in three innings. He
said that the Orioles, who have won six of seven, were swinging
especially aggressively.

”That was a little unusual for spring training,” McDonald
said.

”They did hit some pitches that were good. They had some good
swings, I can’t take that away from them.”

Gaby Sanchez homered twice for the Pirates.

”That’s a byproduct of a healthier guy, a guy that was able to
get in a full offseason of work in. He played from behind last
year,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. ”He’s come in a good
place.”

Making his spring training debut, Hammel, who missed much of the
second half of 2012 with right knee surgery, allowed one hit in two
scoreless innings.

”Nice to be out there with two good knees. Very, very happy
with the results were good, there’s still stuff to work on but it
was a good start. Good first one,” Hammel said.

Adam Jones was 0 for 3 in his last game before leaving the
Orioles this weekend to play for Team USA in the World Baseball
Classic.

The game ended when Pittsburgh’s Jordy Mercer tried to score
from second on an infield hit by Alex Presley. Mercer was tagged
out by catcher Luis Exposito

NOTES: Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen had his first hit of the
exhibition season, a single off Mike Wright. … Baltimore C Taylor
Teagarden is out for a few days with back spasms. … Orioles OF
Henry Urrutia, a Cuban defector, met briefly with Showalter today
while taking his physical. Urrutia signed with Baltimore last July,
but was stuck in Haiti until his work visa was granted this
week.