KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Eric Stults celebrated his return to the major leagues, allowing one run in five innings to lead the Atlanta Braves past the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 Saturday in a spring training wrapup.
Stults has pitched for four other big league teams, with a year in Japan sandwiched in between, and was brought to Braves camp as a non-roster invitee. He was 8-17 with a 4.30 ERA for the San Diego Padres last season.
The left-hander will make his first start for the Braves in their home opener Friday against the New York Mets.
Stults said he sweated out the last week.
“It’s just a great feeling to know you are on a team,” he said. “I never take anything for granted. I am fortunate and really excited for this year.”
Braves closer Craig Kimbrel allowed his first run of the spring when Chris Parmelee homered off him in the ninth.
Freddie Freeman hit his third home run for the Braves and finished exhibition play with a .339 batting average. A.J. Pierzynski had two more hits to end the spring at .366.
Stults ended the spring 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in six outings, including two starts. He walked five and struck out eight, but said that ratio needs to improve.
“My goal right now is just to throw strikes,” Stults said. “I trust myself, that I can throw strikes when I need to.”
Ozzie Martinez had three hits for the Orioles, who brought only non-roster players to Kissimmee. The opening-day squad went to St. Petersburg, where Baltimore starts the season Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Of those who made the trip Saturday, third baseman Michael Almanzar had the lowest uniform number (67).
DOWN TO THE FARM
Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz, a candidate for a rotation spot earlier this spring, was optioned to the minors. He started five games with a 5.64 ERA this spring. “We need him to be able to start every fifth day,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I like the way he’s pitched.”
Foltynewicz might be joined by two other players when Gonzalez makes his final two roster moves Sunday. He said he expects to keep one more position player and one more bullpen arm, but a trade hasn’t been ruled out.
BACK IN THE SHOW
Atlanta INF-OF Kelly Johnson made the team as a non-roster invitee. Johnson was with the Braves from 2005-09 and played for the Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles last season. Gonzalez said he liked the fact that Johnson can play almost any position on the field. He batted .309 with two homers this spring.
Orioles: INF-OF Jimmy Paredes (lower back strain) was feeling better, manager Buck Showalter said, but is still likely to start the season on the disabled list. ... SS J.J. Hardy (left shoulder) and C Matt Wieters (right elbow) reported to Sarasota for treatment. ... OF David Lough (hamstring) will play in minor league games this week.
Braves: LHP Mike Minor (sore shoulder) and OF Melvin Upton (left foot) will start the season on the disabled list. The Braves are hoping they can begin minor league rehab assignments soon.