Notes: Trachsel pleased early on
Starter considers first outing a success, regardless of results
JUPITER, Fla. -- The only surprising part of Steve Trachsel's day came after he left the mound and walked into the clubhouse. Instead of a media horde camped around his locker, he was greeted by silence. Twenty minutes later, when the press was finally allowed into the clubhouse, Trachsel greeted them with a quip.
"I was waiting for 20 reporters to be in my locker," said Trachsel, who signed with the Orioles last month after spending six seasons with the New York Mets.
Everything else went as expected for Trachsel, even if he didn't get the results he wanted. The first five batters reached base against him -- four on hits and one on a walk -- and Trachsel left the game after throwing 28 pitches. The veteran right-hander allowed three earned runs, but he said he wasn't really worried about where the ball went.
"Obviously, you want to do well, but at the same time you try not to put too much emphasis on anything, because your stuff's not sharp and you're not locating well yet," he said. "I wasn't really scuffling. My location was up in the zone, but down in the bullpen, I was good. I probably warmed up too much in the bullpen.
"I usually throw fastball [and] changeup first time out, but today I threw all four pitches. That's something me and [pitching coach] Leo [Mazzone] talked about the other day. He's like, 'Why wait?' That's a little bit different."
Trachsel, who owns a 134-143 career record, said he was energized by the move to a new team. And when you consider his circumstances, it's easy to understand why.
Three weeks ago, he was sitting at home and contemplating skipping Spring Training. Then, word leaked that his former and current teammate, Kris Benson, was burdened by a partially torn right rotator cuff. The Orioles were aggressive and went out of their way to find a replacement, and a few days later, Trachsel had a new home.
"It's been a crazy two weeks, definitely. No doubt about it," said Trachsel, who had to fly cross-country to take a physical examination, then back to his San Diego home, and then back to Florida for Spring Training. "A lot more flying than I wanted to do, that's for sure. But it's nice, knowing where I'm going to be and what's going to happen.
"I actually have a plan that I can stick to now. It's good [and] it's a lot off my head."
Trachsel is expected to be a veteran counterweight to Baltimore's youth-laden pitching staff, and his durability ought to be a large bonus. He's made at least 28 starts in 11 of the last 12 seasons and he's thrown at least 200 innings seven different times. Excluding Benson, no other member of Baltimore's rotation has done it even once.
That's why he's not putting too much emphasis on spring results. When the regular season starts, he'll start putting stock in the actual statistics. And he's not alone in that respect. Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo knows what Trachsel can do and won't really evaluate him until much later in the spring.
"I'd really not like to lock anyone into anything, but we certainly feel that he's the guy," Perlozzo said. "We didn't go out and get him for nothing. It's only one one-inning stint on March 1. This is nothing to panic about."
First chance at first: Jay Gibbons had an anticlimactic day at first base on Thursday. The erstwhile outfielder didn't get a single ground ball or popup his way, leaving his defense to be critiqued another day. Gibbons is trying to move back to first base to keep himself from serving as designated hitter all season.
"I'd rather have gotten 10 just to get it out of the way, just to get something at me," he said. "But whatever, it's part of the game. It's good to get out there and play the first game, at least.
"There's still a lot of timing involved just getting ready for the pitch. I had times where I was a little off, a little uncomfortable, and I had times where I felt normal. I think that's part of it, too."
Gibbons will also see time at left field this spring, where he'll alternate with Kevin Millar and Aubrey Huff. Both Huff and Millar will also be used at first base, giving Perlozzo a lot to consider.
"I wanted to get Jay some early work, because I know he worked in the winter," Perlozzo said. "It's always good for a manager to have options like that, [with] the fact that you have three guys that can go over there. Hopefully, we get him good enough to go out in left field, [too], which I don't think should be a problem. He was a right fielder."
"It just gives you come choices later in the game and some maneuverability."
First impressions: Jeremy Guthrie pitched in his first game as an Oriole on Thursday and threw two hitless innings. Guthrie didn't walk anyone, but he did hit a batter. The youngster is out of options and will have to stick on the team or be exposed to waivers once the exhibition season ends.
"Just throwing first-pitch strikes -- I tried to focus on that," he said. "After that, making them hit it, especially in the spring. It's the right thing to do all the time. It's what you want to do, but especially in the spring when the hitters are just getting into it. You may as well let them hit it. Make a good pitch, but don't try to be too perfect."
Quotable: "I know Kevin Millar. I watched him all year. There's no reason to rush him into the first-base slot. I heard that he played pretty good in the outfield drills the other day. We might shoot him out there before you know it, too." -- Perlozzo, on Millar's defensive destinations this spring
Coming up: The Orioles and Marlins will meet again Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET, this time at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. Florida will send southpaw ace Dontrelle Willis to the mound, and Baltimore will counter with Erik Bedard.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.