TAMPA -- It's hard to know whether Jake Arrieta helped or hurt himself Wednesday in his quest for a job in the Orioles' starting rotation. He was charged with three runs in 1 2/3 innings, he walked two and didn't record a strikeout. But he also got four ground-ball outs, and in fact every ball the Yankees put in play against him was on the ground.
Arrieta needed 38 pitches to get five outs, and he was aided by a slick defensive play from Ryan Flaherty. But then again, it's not like the hits were crushed.
"I was in some good counts and tried to get a little too aggressive with my fastball, pulled a couple out of the zone," Arrieta said.
"I had really good downhill [motion]. I felt like they were taking some pretty weak swings."
Fortunately, or unfortunately, for Arrieta, manager Buck Showalter insists he's just not paying that much attention to results at this point. Showalter wants the contenders -- Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Steve Johnson, Tommy Hunter, and perhaps others -- to concentrate on the process. Get ready, make your pitches, and he'll start thinking about the competition later in spring.
It's still February, after all.
"Because of the [World Baseball Classic] and the schedule," Showalter said, "we've got plenty of time. ... I know there's going to come a day when we're going to have to start showing our hand a little bit. I'm OK with that. I could do it right now, but it's not fair to them, and things change."