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Zach Britton auditions for Orioles in tie with Red Sox

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Buck Showalter has a hard decision ahead of him. He has to choose a fifth starter, and as he begins his third full season as Baltimore Orioles’ manager, there are some excellent choices.

Showalter has auditioned Jake Arrieta, Steve Johnson, Jair Jurrjens and Brian Matusz for the job. On Friday, it was Zach Britton’s turn, and he allowed just one hit in 32∕3 innings as the Orioles and Boston Red Sox played to a 3-3 10-inning tie.

“That’s the best he’s thrown this spring. That was impressive,” Showalter said. “He’s real crisp. It’s good to see. Could have gotten deep in the ballgame today.”

With just over two weeks to make the decision, Baltimore’s manager isn’t giving any tips on the outcome.

“I like where we are with our options. It’s intriguing,” Showalter said.

In 2011, Britton was the Orioles’ leading winner with 11 games. Slowed by shoulder soreness last year, the left-hander was 5-3 with a 5.07 ERA.

“I feel good. Slowed at the finish line a little bit, hadn’t gone more than two, so the adrenaline’s pumping a little bit. I tried to overdo it that last inning with the two walks a little bit, but other than that I felt pretty good,” Britton said.

The Red Sox have a game at home against Minnesota on Friday night, and manager John Farrell brought no regulars and only a few players who have a chance at making the roster.

“I don’t think it matters. You can’t control who they bring or who they don’t bring. It’s spring training. There’s obviously going to be guys in there who may be in the big leagues or not, but they all have a bat in their hands, and they all can do damage,” Britton said.

Britton and four other pitchers combined to limit the Red Sox to one run and two hits through nine innings.

Ryan Flaherty hit a two-run home run in the 10th to earn the tie.

Boston scored two runs in the top of the 10th on a home run by Juan Carlos Linares and an RBI single by Ronald Bermudez.

Clayton Mortensen, for a spot on the Red Sox staff, allowed two hits in three innings.

“It was good to get out there and stretch myself. My particular role this year could involve many things, possibly a spot start in the future. It was good to get out there and do well,” Mortensen said.

NOTES: Red Sox OF Mitch Maier left the game in the third inning. He injured his left hand on a sliding catch of J.J. Hardy’s line drive. “I feel like I jammed it and kind of rolled it under me,” Maier said. He’ll have X-rays. ... Boston LHP Franklin Morales has a slight bulge in one of the disks in his back, manager John Farrell said. He’s received an epidural injection. “There’s no target date to put a ball back in his hand yet,” Farrell said. “It removes someone that we had plans to stretch out.” The Red Sox were hoping to have Morales as an extra starter. ... SS Stephen Drew, who’s suffering from post-concussion symptoms after being hit with a pitch on March 7, will begin exercising on a bicycle to see if he’s still affected by the blow. “We still feel like it’s going to be a few days yet before he’s able to get back on the field,” Farrell said. ... Farrell was planning to manage the other half of the split-squad game at Fort Myers against the Twins on Friday night. ... Red Sox DH David Ortiz is feeling better. “His symptoms have decreased,” Farrell said. Ortiz is out with a sore left heel. ... The Orioles traded minor league INF Michael Flacco, brother of Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco, to the Red Sox for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

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