SARASOTA, Fla. -- Matt Lindstrom has been experimenting with different grips for his slider, and the Orioles reliever finally found one he was comfortable with courtesy of new teammate Luis Ayala.
"I think the big man himself showed Ayala," Lindstrom said, referring to Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. "It just allows me to get a little more speed on it. It looks like a fastball instead of a big looping slurve, curveball that I used to throw."
Acquired in an offseason trade from the Rockies, Lindstrom struggled in his Orioles debut Monday night, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk in Baltimore's 10-3 loss to Pittsburgh. Lindstrom admitted he had some adrenaline going, and while he wasn't pleased with the results, the righty was encouraged with the way his slider felt.
"That's one thing I wanted to build on off of this outing, [is] to keep the velocity up a little bit," Lindstrom said of his slider, which was clocked at 87 mph. "In years past, it kind of loops out under my hand, [and] the hitter gets a better read on it and stuff. [On Monday night], it was shorter, more like my fastball out of my hand. So I'm pleased with the grip that I'm using now and I look forward to keep it going and getting it better."
A power pitcher, Lindstrom's fastball runs into the upper 90s, and by using a slider with more velocity, he thinks he will able to better utilize the pitch.
"That's something else that has kind of been my MO in my career, my downfall is my first hitter I get a guy with two strikes and try to get my stuff even nastier and then I get in a full count and have to throw a fastball," Lindstrom said. "But I threw it in some different counts, runners on base. ... [I'm] just getting a feel for that stuff."
Trio of hurlers test ailments in simulated game
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Prior to traveling to Fort Myers to face the Red Sox, the Orioles held a simulated game Tuesday morning, with pitchers Tommy Hunter, Jim Johnson and Zach Britton all throwing on one of the back fields at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
All three players have been slowed this spring with various injuries, and it was their first time throwing in a game scenario this spring. Hunter (lower back discomfort) threw two innings and approximately 37 pitches, while Johnson (lower back) and Britton (left shoulder inflammation) went an inning a piece.
"I felt pretty strong with it," said Hunter, who took four days off and hasn't had a problem since. "This next bullpen [session] is going to be pretty fun. I'll start mixing all my pitches in and see where they are."
Hunter has no concerns about his back.
"I'm more worried about starting to get my location and not giving up hits to [special assistant] Brady Anderson," said Hunter.
Anderson, Nick Markakis, John Hester and Jai Miller all rotated in the batters' box for each pitcher, occasionally taking swings. Anderson hit a ball off Hunter into the outfield and Markakis, who has been slowed coming off offseason abdominal surgery, hit one off Johnson and deadpanned to manager Buck Showalter: "I'm ready."
Britton threw 16 pitches while Johnson threw 17, and the pair are tentatively slated to pitch in Sunday's "B" game. Britton will likely go two innings, while Hunter would likely go three frames.
"It felt really lively," Britton said. "I know I'm going to have a few more days off before I get into a game, so I think it'll be good."
"I still need to sharpen up the command of my pitches. This is the second time I've thrown offspeed pitches. I still need to sharpen them before I get into an actual game."
Johnson said he felt a lot better mechanically Tuesday morning than he had in previous sessions.
"I felt like I was repeating my delivery pretty good," he said. "There's still a lot left in the tank as far as velocity, but it was definitely a good step."
The Orioles signed Taiwanese lefty Yi-Hsiang Lin to a Minor League contract, as first reported by Baseball America. Lin is 19 years old.
Pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada (left elbow discomfort) came in Tuesday feeling good, and the plan is for him to throw 25 pitches off the mound on Wednesday.
Minor League infielder Travis Adair, who was hit in the head with a ball in batting practice Monday, took batting practice Tuesday. Adair, the son of pitching coach Rick Adair, had no problems Monday night.
Jason Berken (left hamstring) played catch Tuesday up to 140 feet and expects to get off the half mound soon.
Dennys Reyes, who the Orioles released after he failed to report to camp, told Fernando Ballasteros of Puro Beisbol on Monday that he still plans to pitch for Baltimore. Reyes said he has a torn tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand, which he suffered in the final game of the Mexican Winter League. The 34-year-old is seeing a specialist in Los Angeles on Tuesday to determine if it will require surgery. Reyes said he is not considering retirement.
Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy's high school team (Owasso, Okla.) will be practicing at the Ed Smith Stadium facility on Sunday morning. Manager Buck Showalter said the team, which is in the area for a tournament in Winter Haven, will stay to watch Bundy pitch in Sunday's "B" game.
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.