After eight days of relatively uneventful defensive drills, bullpen sessions and batting practice, the Orioles suited up today for a pair of brief intrasquad games on the back fields at the Ed Smith Stadium training complex.

They aren’t really games, since none of the four squads even has enough rostered players to fill the lineup and manager Buck Showalter often stops the action to set up an instructional situation, but they do give the players a chance to throw and swing competitively for the first time this spring.

Of course, hardcore fans will try to divine some information from where players show up in the lineup and on the field, but it’s way too early for that. Showalter is aware of how much every lineup decision is scrutinized, so he threatened to place the players in the batting order alphabetically. He didn’t go through with that, but it still wouldn’t be wise to draw any conclusions.

It’ll get more interesting – and relevant -- this weekend when the Orioles open the Grapefruit League season Saturday against the Minnesota Twins at Ed Smith Stadium. No starting pitcher has been named and it’s hard to predict based on the intrasquad pitching roster.