FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The ball found young center fielder Adam Jones early in the first intrasquad game yesterday, but not in the way the Orioles would have liked.
Jones, the centerpiece in the Orioles' return from the Seattle Mariners in the Erik Bedard deal, was hit in the leg by Nick Markakis' hard ground ball while he was trying to steal second base in the first inning. That was just the beginning of an eventful day for Jones, who went 0-for-1 with two walks, got doubled off first on Luis Terrero's line drive to second and also misplayed Ben Davis' fly ball into a triple.
"It's going to be learning experience for him," manager Dave Trembley said. "He's not a finished product by any means. He's a guy that is going to get better. He's enough of an athlete where when it comes, it's going to come in a hurry."
Jones, who is expected to be the Orioles' Opening Day center fielder, wasn't fazed by his performance.
"I really don't like the intrasquads, facing your own pitchers," he said. "You don't have that passion. But it's spring training. This is the time to get out all the mistakes. If the pitcher was to go put on another uniform, it would be a little bit different, but when you see your own uniform out there, it's like you really don't have that drive."
Jones also gave the Orioles some anxious moments of a different sort, getting up gingerly after misplaying Davis' deep fly to center field. He was turned around on the ball, which then hit off his glove. But he said later that he has no physical problems.
"It's OK. I love being the center of attention if the game's on the line, and if the game's on the line, that's a play I need to make, and I guarantee that's a play that's going to be made," he said.
Wieters debuts, too
The Orioles are expected to send catcher Matt Wieters to minor league camp in Sarasota, Fla., soon, but their top selection in last year's draft is making good use of his time here. As a designated hitter, Wieters went 1-for-2 in yesterday's game with an RBI single.
"It felt real good to get the cage out of there and actually get back to playing baseball," he said.
Said Trembley: "He's going to catch tomorrow, so we'll be anxious to see how he does beyond the plate. He's pretty polished for a guy that doesn't have a lot of experience professionally. We'll keep him here for a while, but he needs to get over to the minor league camp and get with the pitchers that he's going to be with."
Big day for Patton
Troy Patton is expected to throw his most extensive bullpen session today, and the results could go a long way toward determining whether the left-handed starter, who was acquired from the Houston Astros in December in the Miguel Tejada trade, will need season-ending shoulder surgery. Patton fears that he might have a torn labrum in his left shoulder, but he's trying to rehabilitate the injury, maintaining that surgery is his last resort.
"It's a little tight, but it's all right right now," Patton said. "We're getting another day off, which is good, and tomorrow, I think I'm going to throw my heaviest bullpen yet, like 40 or 45 pitches. We'll see how it responds to that."
Bierd's great escape
It stands to reason that a team that is rebuilding around its young pitchers and doesn't expect to contend this season would find a way to keep a Rule 5 reliever who turns 24 on March 14 and has a good arm. The one thing that could change that is if Randor Bierd has a poor spring.
Bierd, the right-hander whom the Orioles plucked from the Detroit Tigers' organization in December's Rule 5 draft and who will be given every opportunity to make the Opening Day roster, showed off his stuff and some good composure. Pitching in a tie game in the bottom of the fifth inning, Bierd got out of a second-and-third jam with no outs without allowing a run.
Bierd said this week that he was uncomfortable at first in the Orioles' clubhouse because he didn't know anybody. But Bierd, who has never pitched above Double-A, has settled in.
"They are giving me a big chance to play in the big leagues," said Bierd, who has to stay on the Orioles' 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the Tigers for $25,000.
Around the horn
Corner infielder Scott Moore has been taking grounders at second base, and he made a nice play there, fielding a ball and throwing out a runner at home. He also had an RBI triple in the five-inning intrasquad game that ended in an 2-2 tie. ... Luke Scott went 2-for-2, and Kevin Millar hit a home run. Reliever George Sherrill (right hamstring strain) is expected to throw a bullpen session today.