SARASOTA, Fla. — Asher Wojciechowski knew he threw one bad pitch. And Travis d’Arnaud sent it to the left field stands.
But aside from the mistake in the second inning, Wojciechowski felt good after his first appearance of the spring, a start against the Braves on Wednesday at Ed Smith Stadium.
Wojciechowski had to delay his first appearance for a few days after a blister issue on his right middle finger.
“First time out there, you always kind of have that little self-doubt when it’s been through the offseason,” Wojciechowski said. “It’s nice to go out there and execute pitches and get back into the rhythm.”
He ended the day after two innings pitched with one earned run allowed — the home run — as well as two hits. He struck out two batters on 33 pitches, 24 of which were strikes.
Most importantly, though, the blister issue didn’t hamper the right-hander on any of his pitches.
“I made one mistake to D’Arnaud, first pitch of the second inning,” Wojciechowski said. “Kind of knew he was going to swing and just didn’t execute that pitch. For the most part, just happy with how I felt. Looking to build on each outing and get ready for the season.”
Last season, Wojciechowski threw in 17 games, and 16 starts for the Orioles. He posted a 4.92 ERA in 82 ⅓ innings pitched. He struck out 80 batters and posted a WHIP of 1.31.
Now, he’s got his sights set on cementing his role in a starting rotation, one that has his name penciled in as one of the first starters.
“I would say my mentality is, yes, win a rotation job no matter what,” he said. I don’t want to change my mindset on how I compete, or how I prepare. I want to go out there and give it everything I have every single day. When it comes to the mindset and preparation, I’m not changing anything I’m doing. That being said, it is kind of nice knowing I have somewhat of a role. But I’m not letting that change the way I prepare.”
One of the things he’s hoping will help gain a more permanent fixture in the rotation is a split-changeup, a pitch he added over the offseason. He threw two against the Braves, to varying degrees of success.
“I was happy with one of them, it was just a little bit off,” Wojciechowski said. “I threw one to (Ozzie) Albies and I thought it was good, it was just a little bit off. Then I threw another one to (Johan) Camargo and it was just alright. Definitely trying to utilize that pitch more, just going to have to throw it in these games and see how it works against hitters.”
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