ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With two young left fielders vying for playing time, the Orioles devised an initial blueprint for the start of the season:
Use Felix Pie on the Tropicana Field turf while Nolan Reimold continues rehabbing his surgically repaired left Achilles' tendon. Let Reimold be the designated hitter in the third game of the season and then have him play in the field once the club gets back to Camden Yards.
That carefully scripted plan lasted a day.
Pie was scratched from Wednesday's lineup with a strained left rotator cuff, forcing Reimold to start in left earlier than expected.
The injury, which occurred when Pie threw home in the bottom of the fifth, is similar to the one that cost Pie several days this spring, but he said doesn't think it is as severe.
"I think a couple days off [and] I am going to be OK," he said.
Pie said he was told by the medical staff not to do anything on Wednesday and attempt to throw Thursday. He was 1-for-4 with a double in Tuesday's opener and led the team with a .342 average this spring.
"It's a little disappointing for me," Pie said. "But I want to be ready, so it is best it happens now than later in the season."
He was replaced by Reimold, the starter in left for much of 2009, who was surprised to see his name in the lineup when he arrived for the game Wednesday.
"I was told I might DH on the third day and the reason was the turf," Reimold said. "But I'm ready to play."
Reimold has tested his foot by running.
"I am sure I will be fine," he said. "Who knows if it will be a little sore the next day, but who cares about that? "
Orioles manager Dave Trembley said nothing should be read into who is playing and who isn't..
"I felt that Pie was going to play left field because Reimold wasn't 100 percent healthy," Trembley said. "I never gave any inclination that it was a tryout. I never gave any inclination that somebody lost their job or somebody won their job over the other guy.
"I looked at it very clearly in spring training," Trembley said. "Reimold didn't run very well. Reimold was hobbled. Pie was 100 percent. Pie had a good spring. By no means whatsoever do I look at it as a competition [that] somebody's going to win the job."
Infielder Robert Andino, who was designated for assignment last week after the Orioles acquired veteran Julio Lugo from the St. Louis Cardinals, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk.
Andino, 25, was at his home in Miami when informed of the move and is expected to drive to Norfolk and be with the team shortly, said Andy MacPhail, Orioles president of baseball operations. When Andino arrives, he'll take over as the club's primary shortstop, throwing a wrench in the Orioles' original plans to convert third baseman Scott Moore to short this season.
MacPhail said he has talked to new farm director John Stockstill and has been assured there is a plan in place to get everyone at-bats. Andino will receive the "lion's share" of playing time while Moore will start at short "at least two times a week," MacPhail said.
A final decision has not been made, but Blake Davis, who played 55 games with the Tides in 2009, could be the odd man out and may be sent to Double-A Bowie.
Miggi again tested early
Miguel Tejada, making his first major league start at third base after a lengthy career at shortstop, didn't have to wait long for his first regular-season chance in Tuesday's opener. The Rays' first batter, Jason Bartlett , hit a sharp grounder to Tejada, who threw Bartlett out. Coincidentally, Bartlett grounded out to Tejada to start the exhibition season in March, too.
"The first ball hit was right back to me. It was the same thing the last time we played Tampa in the first game of spring training, the same guy hit it to me first," Tejada said. "It was funny how that happened."
Tejada said he "felt good" playing first and was glad "to get the first one out of the way and keep improving."
Opener sets MASN record
The Orioles-Rays opener on Tuesday night was the highest-rated Orioles game in MASN's brief history, scoring a 6.9 household rating and beating out network programming such as "Lost" and "The Biggest Loser" in the Baltimore market.
According to MASN, more than 105,000 people turned into the game, and the rating was the highest for any Orioles contest shown exclusively on MASN. Last year's road opener received a 4.2 household rating.
Gold Glove handoff
Outfielder Adam Jones will receive his 2009 Gold Glove from former Orioles great Paul Blair on Saturday. Blair was the last Orioles outfielder to earn the Gold Glove; he won in 1967 and from 1969 to 1975.