Mixed results for Tejada in exhibition opener

He makes play on first ball, adds run and hit, but also commits error

March 04, 2010|By Peter Schmuck

SARASOTA, Fla. — — Miguel Tejada's first exhibition game as the Orioles' regular third baseman featured a little bit of everything.

He made the first play of the game on a bouncer by Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett, then made an error the next time Bartlett came to the plate. He also delivered a hit and scored a run in three at-bats in the Orioles' 12-2 victory Wednesday before an announced 5,328 at Ed Smith Stadium.

"I'm excited," Tejada said. "I was excited for the game to start. It's a great game. I feel comfortable. I feel like everything that I've been working on came through today. I'm going to keep working and continue to get better."

He didn't look entirely comfortable on the first ball but gloved it cleanly and spun around before making a strong throw to get Bartlett on a close play. He tried to short-hop the second ball, but it skipped under his glove.

"I did everything right," he said. "The ball just went under my glove. Juan [Samuel] told me I did everything perfectly."

Tejada has been deeply involved in this process. He has been at the ballpark early every morning to work with Samuel on third base technique. Before the game, he seemed excited about taking his third base education onto the field.

"It's fun. ... It's kind of like my first day in the big leagues," Tejada said Wednesday morning. "I get to prove that I can play another position in the big leagues. I'm going to play like it's [shortstop]. I've never been afraid to make an error."

Guthrie goes two
Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie did a good job of keeping the ball down in his two innings of work. He gave up a hit and a walk and struck out two of the seven batters he faced.

"It's nice to be out there and to be able to mix in a few pitches," Guthrie said. "I tried to keep the fastball down as best as I could, and I felt like I was able to do that pretty good for the first outing. It's one to build off of, and it's nice to get back out there and get the butterflies out of the system. It felt like I hadn't pitched in five months, so it's nice to get back in there and start it again."

The launching pad
For one day, at least, Ed Smith Stadium was a hitters' paradise, at least for the Orioles. Josh Bell and Rhyne Hughes each hit a pair of home runs, and Nick Markakis and Scott Moore also homered on a very windy afternoon.

The wind was blowing hard toward straightaway center field, but that doesn't help a player center the ball on the head of the bat. Bell homered to center in his first at-bat and drove in a run in each of his three plate appearances. Hughes drove in four runs. Markakis hit the ball hard all three times he went to the plate and finished with a lineout, a double and the home run.

"It's a very nice way to start," manager Dave Trembley said. "Guys have worked real hard for a solid 10 days. The pitchers have done a nice job. Today's a good day for the team because you could spread it around. Obviously, the guys who had some great individual performances, they deserve a lot of accolades, but the team deserves a lot of credit. It's a good day for the team. It's a good day for the Orioles. It's awful nice for Sarasota.

"I won't kid anybody, it's a nice way to get it started. You think about it all winter, and it's good to get off to a start like this."

Reimold held back
Left fielder Nolan Reimold was not in the starting lineup for the exhibition opener. His surgically repaired left ankle is still sore, so manager Dave Trembley said he'll hold him back for a few days.

"I understand it and expected it coming off the surgery," Reimold said. "They wanted to be safe, and I have a progression into playing time."

Around the horn
Plate umpire Paul Emmel warned both benches after Matt Albers plunked outfield prospect Desmond Jennings with a pitch in the ninth. That came after Rays reliever Richard De Los Santos hit Matt Angle in the eighth. ... Matt Joyce tested the throwing arm of Orioles catcher Matt Wieters with a steal attempt in the second inning. Wieters passed the test.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

On deck
The Orioles will play their first road Grapefruit League game this spring by traveling to Port Charlotte, Fla., today to face the Rays at 1:05 p.m. Left-hander Brian Matusz will get the start for the Orioles with relievers Koji Uehara and Mark Hendrickson also scheduled to make their spring debuts. Right-hander Jeff Niemann will start for the Rays.

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