03/30/07 8:23 PM ET
Notes: Wright's day not as planned
O's play waiting game on cuts; Dubois has rough homecoming
By James Frankenberry / Special to MLB.com
Wright threw 96 pitches -- only 44 for strikes -- over 41/3 innings. He walked six batters and surrendered four earned runs in a 6-5 victory over the Nationals.
Manager Sam Perlozzo's succinct assessment: "Not his best."
Wright, 31, is scheduled to start the Orioles' third regular-season game on Wednesday against Minnesota. Wright hoped to get through five innings Friday, but he left after issuing a walk, a double and a sacrifice fly to lead off the fifth.
"You don't want to throw that many pitches in 4 1/3 innings," Wright said. "But if you look at the pitch count, I definitely got stretched out, which I wanted to do."
"He just didn't have his good stuff," Perlozzo said. "Every once in a while he popped the ball, and hopefully he's going to be ready for the season."
Wright finished Spring Training with a 6.38 ERA and allowed 10 earned runs in his final 12 innings.
"Now it counts, and you take the stuff you did in spring to build on," Wright said. "It's a constant process."
Waiting game: Perlozzo was mum on final roster cuts as the Orioles head into their final exhibition game Saturday.
A few spots remain up for grabs, and the club has not announced a decision on the status of outfielder Jay Payton, whose left-hamstring injury could land him on the disabled list.
"It's going to come down to the last minute," Perlozzo said.
Perlozzo added that Payton is "still not ready. We'll probably wait one more day and see where he's at."
Payton strained his left hamstring Monday in a game against the Twins. He batted .354 in 17 games, and was expected to start in left field on Opening Day.
The DL announcement has been held off in hopes that Payton could overcome the injury.
Welcome mat: Norfolk, beginning its first season as the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate, welcomed the club with a sellout crowd of 12,408 at Harbor Park on Friday.
Tickets went on sale last month and sold out in about 30 minutes. Friday's game was the first between two Major League clubs in Norfolk in more than 30 years. The Mets and Yankees played in 1974 at Met Park, which was demolished when Harbor Park was built.
Look familiar?: The same company that designed Oriole Park at Camden Yards, HOK Sports Facilities, also designed Harbor Park. The stadium opened in 1993 and was named the top Minor League ballpark by Baseball America two years later.
Norfolk ties: Perlozzo and three players returned to Norfolk after playing Minor League ball in the city while they were members of the New York Mets organization.
Perlozzo was a player-coach for the Triple-A Tidewater Tides in 1981 and was the club's manager in 1986.
Payton, third baseman Melvin Mora and pitcher Steve Trachsel also played for the Tides. Trachsel pitched the only no-hitter in Harbor Park history in a 2001 seven-inning game.
Sour homecoming: Outfielder Jason Dubois grew up and resides in nearby Virginia Beach, but his day in front of friends and family was spoiled Friday by a right hamstring injury.
Dubois pulled up holding his right leg while running to first on a double-play ball in the seventh inning. Dubois, expected to start the season with Norfolk, had doubled in the seventh to snap an 0-for-10 streak at the plate.
Dubois' 1-for-2 day raised his spring batting average to .293.
"We're hoping it was just a cramp and nothing serious," Perlozzo said. "But we'll evaluate him [Saturday] and see where to go from there."
Not Jay's day: Jay Gibbons had a rough day in left field Friday, although he survived without being charged with an error.
Gibbons was turned around on a deep fly ball by Washington's Dmitri Young in the second inning, resulting in a double. Then in the fifth, a line drive by Brian Schneider took a bad hop and got past Gibbons for another double.
Quotable: "To have them fill the house like they did, I think that's great for the city. It made a nice atmosphere for us to play in. It's nice to have a packed house." -- Perlozzo, on playing in a new affiliate's home stadium
Coming up: The Orioles play the Nationals for a fourth consecutive day on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET at Washington's RFK Stadium. Adam Loewen and Trachsel are scheduled to split pitching duties for Baltimore. The game is the team's last exhibition before Monday's Opening Day game in Minnesota.
James Frankenberry is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.