SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles played their first game on the Ed Smith Stadium field, and they decided to have a little fun with it, sending out J.J. Hardy to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Chris Davis.
The rules were relaxed again for the last intrasquad game before Saturday’s exhibition opener, starting with left-hander Mark Hendrickson staying on the mound in the bottom of the first inning until he recorded five outs.
Five up, five down for Hendrickson and his new sidearm delivery. He retired Adam Jones and Wilson Betemit on two pitches - getting a ground ball and fly ball - disposed of Davis and Hardy on tappers to the mound and retired Manny Machado on a grounder to first.
Matt Wieters homered to left-center field against Troy Patton, who had retired the first three batters on a strikeout (Nate McLouth) and two ground balls. Brian Roberts, batting from the right side again today, grounded to second.
Nolan Reimold, who wasn’t expected to play today, flied to left field to end the inning. He replaced McLouth in left in the top of the third, but McLouth batted in the fourth.
Like I said, relaxed rules.
Xavier Avery almost homered off Chris Tillman leading off the top of the first, but right fielder Steve Peace made a leaping grab to rob him. Tillman struck out Russ Canzler and Alexi Casilla, with Wieters squeezing Canzler’s foul tip for the out.
Jason Pridie singled off Pedro Strop in the second inning. Strop struck out Travis Ishikawa and Trayvon Robinson.
Daniel McCutchen struck out Taylor Teagarden and retired Danny Valencia and Avery in a 1-2-3 top of the third. Daniel Schlereth induced a ground ball from Jones, struck out Betemit looking and walked Davis before reaching his pitch limit.
Mike Belfiore, the PTBNL in the Josh Bell trade with the Diamondbacks, struck out Canzler and Yamaico Navarro. Eduardo Rodriguez struck out Machado, walked McLouth and hit Pearce.
The game was halted after the top of the fifth. Kevin Gausman struck out Lew Ford and Chris Robinson, and retired LJ Hoes on a grounder and Valencia on a fly ball to center. He was impressive.
Kevin Correia will start for the Twins in Saturday’s exhibition game against the Orioles, who still haven’t announced their starter. Mark Buehrle will start Sunday for the Blue Jays.
Update: Left-hander Zach Britton will start Saturday’s opener against the Twins, and Jair Jurrjens will start Sunday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.
Arrieta will follow Britton to the mound on Saturday.