BRADENTON, Fla. — Joe Beimel’s first pitch of spring training was crushed by the Orioles’ Jake Fox.
“That was messed up,” Beimel said, laughing. “First pitch of spring and he swings and hits a homer off me. I wasn’t too happy about that.”
Beimel also gave up two more unearned runs in the inning, his first of the spring after sitting out due to a sore left forearm. He allowed four hits and got two strikeouts.
It was not the quick and easy outing he’d hoped for, but Beimel was happy just to be back on the mound.
“It felt amazing,” he said. “It really did. It might not look like it, but it felt like everything was coming out (of my hand) really good. I was missing up a little bit, but for the first outing I’m actually pretty excited about it.”
Beimel’s plan was to work mostly on his fastball command and throw only a couple of offspeed pitches. But … “I was out there long enough that I was able to work on the offspeed, too, a little bit. Overall, I think it was pretty positive. I’ve got to fine-tune things from here.”
Beimel believes he was on a pitch count, but it didn’t seem to matter. “I was out there so long I kind of lost track,” he said.
“I saw Joe have really good glove-side command of his fastball,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He threw some good breaking balls. He threw a couple nice changeups. He threw more pitches than we wanted, but he threw ‘em. His stamina was fine, so it was a very encouraging outing for him.”
Although he missed a couple of weeks with the injury, there is plenty of time left for Beimel to get ready for the start of the season. “Stuff-wise, it felt like the ball was coming out pretty good,” he said. “That’s usually what you have to build up to. I think I’m right on track.”
»»» Left-hander Scott Olsen pitched the eighth and allowed Nick Green’s homer and Josh Bell’s triple. Olsen had been out a month due to a strained hamstring.
»»» Righty Kevin Correia worked five innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with one strikeout. The O’s scored three runs in the fourth. In the fifth, Randy Winn nudged a homer just over the wall in left-center. “Randy’s one of my old buddies,” Correia said. “He’s a good guy. He didn’t think he got it, I could tell.”
Correia, who threw 69 pitches, is the first Pirate to toss five innings this spring. His goal next time out is six innings or 85 pitches, whichever comes first.
“I’d say I’m two starts away from being ready for a regular-season game,” he said. “My pitch count was better today. I threw one less pitch than I did last outing and I went one more inning. The runs are one thing, but I want to stay out there as long as possible. So to get the pitch count down today was one of my main goals.”
»»» Jason Jaramillo went 2 for 3, raising his batting average to .533 in nine games. Jaramillo is vying for a backup job if the Pirates either keep three catchers or trade Ryan Doumit. Last year, he struggled at the plate and was demoted to Triple-A Indy. So far in spring training, Jaramillo has hit well. “He’s barrelled up some balls from both sides of the plate,” Hurdle said. “That part of it has looked very good. Now, acclimating himself to all the (pitching) staff and catching clean games is the next part of it. He’s looked pretty good.”
»»» The Pirates are off Tuesday. Wednesday, Paul Maholm, Jeff Karstens and Joel Hanrahan will pitch against the Blue Jays. Kyle Drabek, the son of ex-Pirate Doug Drabek, and Octavio Dotel, who began last season as the Bucs’ closer, will pitch for the Blue Jays.