- The Phoenix Desert Dogs were in Peoria tonight to play the Saguaros. I got to the park in time to watch Blake Davis and Jeff Fiorentino take batting practice. Davis is a nice looking hitter and he was spraying the ball to all fields. He started the night batting .429 with an OPS of 1.071.
- Fiorentino has made some significant changes to his batting stance since I saw him last year in the AFL. He is not choking up on the bat like he was last year, and he is staying back on the ball which is giving him more power. He still takes a pronounced step toward the mound to wind up his swing, but he is not hitting off his front foot like he was. His BP was nice to watch; he was mashing line drives to right field. He has had only 7 at bats so far this year and is hitting .143.
- Nolan Reimold was the only Oriole to start tonight. He was in right field for the Desert dogs. In his first at bat, he swung at an elevated first pitch fast ball and popped it up. He struck out in his second and third at bats, both on questionable calls; he was called out on a 1-2 slider that clearly was low and outside the strike zone. The umpire also called him out on a 1-2 fastball that was outside, which he checked his swing on. In his last at bat, Reimold grounded out third to first. He finished the night with a .143 batting average.
- The other Oriole to play was James Johnson, who came in from the bullpen to pitch two innings of relief. Johnson started off having trouble commanding his fastball in a consistent manner tonight, yet he managed to give up only one run on one hit- a Will Venable broken bat double down the right field line that scored Cameron Maybin, who was on with a walk. Johnson faced eight batters in his two innings. Besides the Venable double and the Maybin walk, he managed to fan Mike Costanzas. Two of his six outs were on ground balls, including a Xavier Paul double play in his second inning of work. Johnson is currently sporting a 2.25 ERA this fall season. He threw a total of 33 pitches, 19 of them for strikes.
- Before the game, I had a chance to speak with Blake Davis for a bit. I asked him about his move to second base this fall. He told me that the Orioles wanted him to get some experience at that position but he expects to play shortstop again next season. My guess is that he will be following the path Brian Roberts took and will make the switch to second base in the future.
- Nolan Reimold has shorn his long hair. He is sporting a crew cut this year. If he keeps hitting like this, he may have to grow it back out.
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