No matter how pleasant it is to spend a few weeks in Florida this time of year, you can only watch so many pitchers cover first base or throw off the half-mound before you start pining for some actual competition.
The players and coaches feel the same way, so everybody was happy to be out on the back fields for Wednesday's two concurrent intrasquad games at the Ed Smith Stadium spring training complex.
Nobody kept score, but there were some highlights, starting with Chris Davis' opposite-field homer off teammate Tommy Hunter on the field that is built to the exact same dimensions as Camden Yards.
There were a number of big swings and nice – albeit very brief – performances. Brian Roberts had an RBI single in his first at-bat. Nate McLouth hit a long double off Zach Britton. Manny Machado lined a deep shot to right field off Brian Matusz that was caught up against the fence. L.J. Hoes made a nice throw to cut down Johnny Ruettiger trying to score on a single by Russ Canzler.
My top choice, however, was the one-inning performance of Matusz, who displayed very good velocity and solid command in his first taste of spring competition.
Nick Markakis became the third Orioles player to be sent out for further examination of what Buck Showalter describes as acid reflux. This might seem like one of those what-are-the-odds things, since it's the first time I've ever heard the words "acid reflux" in a training camp in all my years of covering baseball'
So, I'll just guess that the physicals have been modified this year to look for some additional issues. Acid reflux can erode the esophagus and even contribute to throat cancer, so it's a good idea to get a handle on it. It generally can be controlled well with medication.
Knock on wood. The Orioles have had a fairly uneventful camp so far when it comes to injuries, though Conor Jackson has been grappling with some lower back soreness and catcher Luis Martinez tweaked his left oblique on Tuesday. They both said they felt better on Wednesday, but probably are doubtful for Thursday's intrasquad game. Nolan Reimold did not take part in the intrasquad action and won't again on Thursday, but not because he has suffered any setback in his comeback from neck surgery. He's excited to be taking part in full baseball activities again and Showalter is just trying to slow him down.
Took part in my first Google+ Hangout video chat on Wednesday afternoon. You can check out the replay here. Got some heat for not wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt for my debut, so I'll remember to dress more inappropriately next time.