O's: Kickoff countdown
The lineup for today's Grapefruit League opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates features J.J. Hardy in the leadoff slot, Felix Pie second and Mark Reynolds batting third. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you'll never see that combination during the regular season.
Brian Roberts was never scheduled to play in the road opener at McKechnie Field, so draw no conclusions from that. Nick Markakis rolled into the clubhouse this morning on skate shoes, so he's obviously fine. The regulars don't make a lot of spring road trips, but we've been told that designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero wants to play a lot. He'll make his Orioles debut in the cleanup spot, followed by Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold. The wind is blowing out hard to left, so I'm predicting Reynolds hits three pop ups and drives in six runs.
Brandon Snyder gets a chance to make a good first impression at first base, since it will be a few days before Derrek Lee makes his O's spring debut.
Today's crappy cellphone photo is of the home plate area of McKechnie Field in Bradenton, one of the truly historic spring training ballparks.
Instant update: The O's are off to a good start. Felix Pie just sliced a double over third base. moved over to third on a groundout by Reynolds and scored on an infield hit by Guerrero. If you recall, Guerrero had two infield hits in the intrasquad game, but this was no seeing-eye grounder. He hit a shot to the right of Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez and he barely knocked it down to keep in on the infield. I'm not doing inning updates, but thought you'd like to hear about Guerrero's first Orioles RBI and the long home run Nolan Reimold just hit to lead off the second.