Fearless ball writer flees Florida

     SARASOTA, Fla. -- Don't know where all the time went, but I'm on my way home after a month of observing the latest incarnation of the Orioles at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex. I'm not sure where they go from here, but here are some observations on the way out of the Sunshine State.

     Pitching picture still cloudy: The Orioles still have a horde of pitchers in play for Buck Showalter's 12-man regular season staff, but only a few have really stepped up during the early part of the exhibition season. Newly acquire Jason Hammel has looked good and Jake Arrieta is throwing well, but the Orioles still are trying to get some key pitchers healthy. Jim Johnson had a rocky first exhibition outing on Wednesday and both Tommy Hunter (back) and Zach Britton (shoulder) still haven't pitched in a Grapefruit League game.

     Waiting for Wada: Tsuyoshi Wada pitched in a similated game on Wednesday and gave up a couple of moon shots to outfield candidate Jai Miller. He could pitch in a minor league game on Sunday or Monday, but he probably won't be ready for Opening Day. They aren't saying that, but I am.

     Who's on first?: That's not a terribly pressing question. Chris Davis probably will be there, but Nick Johnson remains in the running to share some time there and in the DH role. The Orioles figure to push Johnson over the next couple of weeks to make sure he is sturdy enough to push someone without options off the roster.

     Ed Smith Stadium: The now-complete training complex is a sight to behold. Congratulations to Janet Marie Smith and the rest of the organization for getting it right. The stadium, which opened last year, is beautiful and the training complex is an ergonomic wonder. I really don't know what ergonomic means, but it sounds good.




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