The Orioles played a game before their game yesterday, using one of their back fields for a little simulated action that didn't lack for interesting -- and at times comical -- moments.
Unable to arrange any split-squad games this spring, the Orioles set up a batting cage and had some of their pitchers, including Jeremy Guthrie and Garrett Olson, face a small group of hitters. Triple-A pitching coach Larry McCall and instructor Don Werner took turns serving as the plate umpire while standing behind the cage. Mike Costanzo did most of the catching.
Olson buzzed Luke Scott inside and accidentally drilled Scott Moore on the right elbow. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz, standing behind the mound to the shortstop side, spun away from a line drive that came within inches of striking him.
One of Olson's pitches broke Jay Gibbons' bat. Gibbons grabbed a new piece of lumber and cracked it while making contact with a Chad Bradford pitch. Teammates standing near the cage erupted in laughter.
More than once, someone yelled "heads up" as a ball from the main field sailed over the screen in left field. Adam Jones, taking batting practice, interrupted the simulated game twice with moon shots that landed on the back infield. One ball bounced between the mound and third base.