Orioles 3, Rays 1

Wade Davis is off to a strong in his campaign to keep his spot

in Tampa Bay’s rotation.

The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings Monday in a 3-1

loss to a split-squad of Baltimore Orioles, striking out one in a

28-pitch outing.

”Sharp, real sharp. Aggressive in the strike zone,” manager

Joe Maddon said. ”He went right after hitters, was not messing

around. I like that.”

Alfredo Simon and three other Orioles pitchers combined to limit

the Rays to one hit until the ninth inning, when Pedro Strop

allowed a leadoff single to Jeff Salazar and Stephen Vogt’s one-out

RBI double.

Nick Johnson drew a bases-loaded walk off Alex Cobb in the fifth

to drive in Baltimore’s first run. Ryan Flaherty added a two-run

triple off Matt Torra in the eighth.

”We played a lot of young kids and did well,” Orioles manager

Buck Showalter said before returning to Sarasota, where the rest of

the Orioles played their spring training home opener Monday night

against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Simon allowed a two-out double to Ben Zobrist in the first

inning and retired the Rays in order in the second. He was replaced

by Brad Bergesen, who yielded a walk and struck out two in two

innings to get the win. Miguel Socolovich and Zach Phillips each

worked a pair of scoreless innings, too.

”A good way to start it out,” Bergesen said.

”Everybody pitched well today,” Showalter said, ”including

Pedro.”

Davis led AL rookies with 12 wins in 2010 and won 11 more games

last season, helping Tampa Bay to its third playoff berth in four

years.

But with as many as eight pitchers likely to get a shot at

starting games some time this season, the 26-year-old’s spot in one

of baseball’s best rotations could be at stake in the coming

weeks.

Davis yielded one hit and struck one in a crisp spring

debut.

”I thought it was good. I think I stayed under control. Threw

all my pitches, and I threw everything for strikes,” Davis said.

”I’ve still got to get better at some things, but that was a good

first day.”

The Rays entered spring training with a surplus of candidates

for the rotation after addressing their top offseason priorities –

adding power to the middle of the batting order and bolstering the

bullpen – without having to trade any of the team’s established

pitchers or promising minor league prospects.

In addition to returning last year’s rotation of David Price,

James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann and Davis, Cobb and

left-handers Matt Moore and Alex Torres all figure to get an

opportunity to start games for the Rays this season.

Cobb, who made eight starts over three stints with Tampa Bay

last season, allowed one run and three hits, walked two and struck

out two in 1 1-3 innings in his first significant appearance since

undergoing season-ending surgery to remove a blood clot and

blockage in the area of one of his right ribs.

The 24-year-old right-hander also pitched in an intrasquad game

last week.

”My major concern was that he felt well and he did,” Maddon

said.

NOTES: Showalter said minor league INF Travis Adair was hit in

the head by a batted ball during batting practice. Precautionary

tests were negative, and the manager said Adair was returning to

Sarasota with the team. … Moore, who’s been slowed IN camp by a

mild lower abdominal strain, threw a bullpen session and said he

felt fine.