SARASOTA, FLA. — After eight days of workouts, the Orioles will finally see some game action for the first time this spring on Saturday afternoon.
The Orioles will play a five-inning intrasquad game on the Camden Yards South field at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
The game was originally supposed to be on the Ed Smith Stadium main field, but there is a spring season-ticket holder event taking place at that time, so the game will be moved to the back fields. Since workouts are open to the public, Saturday's intrasquad game will also be open to the public.
Don't look took much into this game. It's really just the first opportunity for players to get their competitive juices flowing. Heck, Orioles manager Buck Showalter even invited beat reporters to serve as umpires. And he seemed like he was only half-joking.
The Orioles will have a seven-inning intrasquad game Sunday on the Ed Smith Stadium main field. That one is closed to the public.
Then two days later, the Orioles will open their Grapefruit League schedule on the road against the Atlanta Braves in Lake Buena Vista. That's when it gets a little more exciting.
I'm looking forward to watching right-hander Yovani Gallardo's first bullpen session as an Oriole. On Thursday, Gallardo said that he didn't think he'd be far behind – he said he's been adhering to his regular offseason routine to stay ready – but he will throw his first side session on the ninth day of spring training workouts for pitchers and catchers.
Players union visit today
Before today's workout, the Orioles will have their annual spring training meeting with representatives of the players union.
Players union chief Tony Clark and other officials will meet with players to update them on union issues. This year's visit will take on greater importance because baseball's collective bargaining agreement will expire on Dec. 1.
One of the topics that will certainly come up is the qualifying offer process. The Orioles have used the process to sign key free agents who remained on the market going into spring training, signing Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz in 2014 and Yovani Gallardo this spring.
Catcher Matt Wieters was one of three players over the four years of the process to accept a qualifying offer, taking the $15.8 million offer given to him rather than test the free-agent market.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Friday that Tyler Wilson or Mike Wright will likely start Tuesday's Grapefruit League opener.
By that logic, it would be safe to say that Pedro Beato, Oliver Drake, Chris Jones and Chris Lee will join them. Those six pitchers all threw live batting practice to hitters Friday.