SARASOTA, FLA. — You try not to make too much of the first intrasquad games of the season, because they're just the first time we're seeing anything remotely close to game action.
Pitchers were held to pitch counts of about 10-15 pitches, so they'd stay out to face extra hitters to meet that, or could be pulled to end a long inning.
Other than the obvious initial impressions – Chris Davis' opposite field homer, Brian Matusz's clean inning and an RBI single by Brian Roberts – there were some interesting occurances.
Before Roberts' single in the Field 4 game, outfielder Nate McLouth jumped on Zach Britton for a double into the left-center field gap for a nice piece of hitting. That drew noticable cheers from the crowd, cheers that only got louder after Roberts' single.
Britton faced a lineup made up of mostly starters, and they jumped on him early in the count.
With Matusz on the mound on Field 4, right fielder Jason Pridie, the subject of today's Baltimore Sun story, made a nice catch against the high right field wall on Manny Machado's rocket line drive. To some, it didn't look like a tough play. But playing that right-field wall on Field 4 – which has the dimensions of Camden Yards – is no easy task for a newcomer.
Right-hander Steve Johnson made his first-inning appearance look pretty easy with a clean frame. He was getting ahead of hitters regularly.
Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland gave up a few hits in his first action. it looked like he was struggling to keep his sinker down.
Newcomer Jair Jurrjens gave up hits to three of the four batters he faced. He's still trying to strengthen his right leg to make a run at a starting rotation spot.
Again, don't make too much of it. But for now, it's all we've got for now.
The Orioles will play another intrasquad game this afternoon at 1 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium. As I reported last night, 22-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps will visit the team before the game.
Today's pitchers will include left-handers Mark Hendrickson, Troy Patton, Daniel Schlereth and Eduardo Rodriguez for one team and Chris Tillman, Pedro Strop, Daniel McCutchen, Mike Belfiore and Kevin Gausman for the other team.