Orioles Defeat Braves, Jai Miller and Opening Day

This afternoon, the Orioles defeated the Atlanta Braves, 2-1, in Grapefruit League action. Jai Miller and Xavier Avery drove in runs late in the game after trailing 1-0; however, the Orioles got another solid pitching performance from the hurlers on the mound.

Jason Hammel pitched his first game as Oriole, tossing two scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and walked one. Pitchers Kevin Gregg, Darren O’Day, Pedro Strop, Michael Socolovich – who earned the victory – and Troy Patton each pitched a scoreless inning.

Zach Phillips gave up a run off an Eric Hinske homer in the seventh inning. Overall, he pitched two innings, and one gave up a hit – the Hinske longball.

Atlanta starter Mike Minor pitched three innings of scoreless ball.

I’m not sure if Jai Miller may have a role with the team when Opening Day comes around; however, he is making the most his playing time so far. He is 27 and far from a young prospect, but  is an intriguing player.

He had two hits in three at-bats, and certainly has the tools to be an impact player off the bench. Miller as of this evening has driven in four runs during the short exhibition season.

Realistically, even if Miller made the roster, he may not see much playing time with Adam Jones and Nick Markakis in the fold. In addition, with Nolan Reimold and veteran Endy Chavez on the team, it may be hard to plug in Miller.

However, seeing Miller in the flesh at Fan Fest, he is a big man – athletic, fairly muscular and looks to be an imposing figure.

He has had success in the minors within the Oakland organization (before claimed by the Orioles on waivers), and has not had too many at-bats in the majors.

Miller is a .235 hitter in his brief major league career with a .288 OBP, two homers, and six RBI’s in 68 at-bats.

If Miller does make the 25-man roster, I would imagine that he could become a solid part of the major league squad.  However, if he does not – at least he would be a welcome addition to Triple-A Norfolk. I would think if Reimold struggles early, or if Jones is traded, you will be seeing a lot of Miller.

Finally, if you are looking for tickets for Opening Day on Friday April 6th at Camden Yards, you might want to look at buying tickets – like now. It seems that the games is sold out – or close – with single seats remaining.

I only know this because I bought mine today from my ticket rep, and was a bit shocked that the Opening Day game was close to not having seats available.