Blue Jays 7, Orioles 4
Sitting at his locker an hour before the Baltimore Orioles
closed out the exhibition season against the Toronto Blue Jays,
Derrek Lee was asked if he had gotten enough at-bats to be ready
for opening day.
”There’s no choice. We’re playing Tampa Bay on April 1, so I’ll
be ready to go,” he replied.
If concrete evidence was needed to prove Lee’s readiness, he
supplied it by going 3 for 4 with an RBI in Baltimore’s 7-4 loss
After agreeing to a one-year, $7.25 million contract as a free
agent on Jan. 6, Lee didn’t play in an exhibition game until March
19 because of a sore wrist. Then, in his first at-bat, he fouled a
ball off his foot.
He ended up playing in only eight games this spring, but the
last one was a keeper.
Lee doubled and scored in the first inning, singled in a run in
the second and hit a leadoff double in the fourth. He struck out
against David Purcey in his final at-bat.
Asked if he had finally found a groove, Lee replied, ”Yeah,
I’ve been starting to feel a little better the last couple days and
it definitely felt good. I’m seeing the ball good.”
Manager Buck Showalter agreed, saying, ”That’s probably his
best looks at the plate.”
Lee had surgery in November to repair a torn ligament in his
right thumb, an injury he sustained on opening day last year with
the Chicago Cubs.
The cast caused Lee’s 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
It didn’t exactly make for a fun spring.
”All’s well that ends well,” Lee said. ”It was my first
surgery, I didn’t know what to expect coming off of it. So it took
a little longer, well, actually it didn’t take a little longer –
I’m kind of right on schedule from what the doctor told me. I am
ready to go for opening day.”
Adam Lind homered for the Blue Jays and Aaron Hill went 3 for 4
with three RBIs.
Toronto starter Brett Cecil allowed four runs and nine hits in
four innings to finish 0-2 with a 5.96 ERA this spring.
”I’m happy where I’m at right now as far as going into the
season, regardless of how many runs I gave up,” Cecil said.
After his last start, the left-hander was concerned about an
inexplicable loss of velocity. He said his velocity felt better
this time, but his command was off.