SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles pitcher Tommy Hunter did long toss and threw off flat ground on Friday morning and said he's not concerned with the lower back stiffness that prompted the team to switch his Tuesday start to a simulated game.
"Just because [Fort Myers] is an hour and a half away, just trying to watch my lower back a little bit," said Hunter, who was initially scheduled to pitch Tuesday against the Red Sox. "I'm not concerned at all, I can still pitch. I've been throwing bullpens with it. It just hasn't been getting better, so we're just going to give it a few days."
Hunter, who did not pitch in Friday's intrasquad game and will not pitch in Saturday's intrasquad game, said if this was the regular season, he'd be making his scheduled start and he made sure the team was aware of that. The 25-year-old right-hander, who went 3-3 with a 5.06 ERA in 12 games for the Orioles last season, is expected to be in the Opening Day rotation, if healthy.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the team is being "cautious while you still can be," in regards to Hunter, and the thinking with Tuesday's simulated game is that the team can control the environment.
Pitching dominates Friday's intrasquad game
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles got an unofficial start to Spring Training with Friday's afternoon's intrasquad game, a contest which was unsurprisingly dominated by the pitchers as is typically the case in early-camp games.
"We knew we were going to win today, that's for sure," Orioles manager Buck Showalter joked of the first of two scheduled intrasquad games. "They were looking forward to getting into a game situation. I don't care what you do on the back fields, it's just a different [feel], not only for [the players], but for us. Everybody getting back in the flow of game day activity. It was fun."
Right-hander Jake Arrieta started against Jason Hammel, who made his Orioles debut and had his competitive juices flowing, according to Showalter. Each pitcher went roughly one inning, although it wasn't a straight three outs an inning scenario. If a pitcher needed more or less work, he stayed out there, such as Pedro Strop, who went four outs because of how efficient he was.
Arrieta and Brian Matusz both looked good, both throwing perfect innings for the visiting team, which won 2-1. Hammel, who struck out two of three batters, was followed by Matt Lindstrom, who gave up the first run of spring to Joe Mahoney on a double down the right-field line.
Mark Reynolds made two impressive plays at third base, showing off some glovework and improved athleticism by getting to a slow roller and throwing out Xavier Avery.
Reynolds has slimmed down about 20 pounds from where he started last spring. He said earlier this offseason that he made an effort to do some serious cardio work -- running up the hills by his home in Arizona -- as well as focus on improving his agility and becoming more mobile.
Reynolds thinks he got carried away in the weight room at times last spring, bulking up to a level where he had trouble moving defensively.
Other pitchers who threw on Friday's included: Dana Eveland, Darren O'Day, Zach Phillips, Troy Patton, Alfredo Simon, Brad Bergesen, and Miguel Socolovich.
Jason Berken (left hamstring) played catch for the third time on Friday and said he's gradually feeling better. Berken will play catch again on Saturday and will progress toward getting up on a mound at some point next week.
Tsuyoshi Wada (left elbow inflammation) played catch for the second consecutive day on Friday. The new O's left-hander also watched Friday's intrasquad game from the stands. Willie Eyre (groin) is also feeling better and will throw off the lower half of a mound on Saturday.
The Orioles recalled a number of players from Minor League camp for Friday's intrasquad game. In addition to top infield prospects Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, who will be with the big league club for the next few days, the Orioles also had position players Buck Britton, Trent Mummey, Carlos Rojas, Glynn Davis, Travis Adair and Jeff Larish, in addition to pitchers Winstron Abreu, Tim Bascom, Casey Fossum, Greg Burke and Robert Hinton.
Brian Roberts (concussion) was in very good spirits Friday and did some infield work and some coaches batting practice. Roberts continues to have more good days than bad, and was laughing and joking around with teammates in the clubhouse.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.