{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

{"event":["spring_training" ] }

Arrieta makes striking statement in bid for rotation

|
Arrieta makes striking statement in bid for rotation play video for Arrieta makes striking statement in bid for rotation

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Jake Arrieta made a strong statement for the fifth rotation spot on Thursday night, tossing six scoreless innings and striking out nine in a Grapefruit League start against the Pirates.

"[It was] a lot more efficient, " said Arrieta, who had eight strikeouts working from the stretch and was able to work deep in the game. "I think it was one thing I needed to clean up a little bit, was to be better at getting ahead of guys and putting them away when I'm in favorable counts. So, I did a better job of that today."

Last year's Opening Day starter, Arrieta cruised through four innings and pitched out of the only jam of the night in the fifth. After issuing a leadoff walk and an infield single, Arrieta retired the next three batters, fanning Pedro Alvarez for his eighth strikeout. The 27-year-old right-hander extended his scoreless innings streak to 14 2/3 in the process, allowing six hits while walking two.

"A big thing for me last year was not being able to minimize damage," said Arrieta who went 3-9 with a 6.20 ERA in 18 games last season and has made a conscious effort this spring toward in-game adjustments. "When I got in situations things started to get out of control and I just wasn't able to manage it."

This spring, he has been able to eliminate the big inning. Arrieta, who also pitched in an exhibition game against Spain, has appeared in five spring games (four starts) and has allowed three earned runs on 13 hits and eight walks with 16 strikeouts over 17 1/3 innings.

Thursday's outing conceivably gives Arrieta the edge on the rotation spot, although manager Buck Showalter wasn't willing to tip his hand.

"He's shown me enough to be in the competition," Showalter said of Arrieta, who is considered to be in the mix along with Brian Matusz, Steve Johnson and Zach Britton. "To continue to be in the competition."

"All I can do is go out there and show that I belong on the team," Arrieta said, "And after that, it's their decision."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español