PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Baltimore second baseman Jemile Weeks made a quick impression during the Orioles’ 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in the Grapefruit League opener Friday.
Weeks, who was acquired in December from Oakland in the Jim Johnson trade, led off the game with a double to left field off former Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard, then scored two batters later on Steve Clevenger’s one-out single.
In his next at-bat in the second inning, Weeks drew a walk from Heath Bell, stole second base, moved to third on a single by Francisco Peguero and later scored on a wild pitch.
Weeks said seeing his name atop the batting order for the Orioles’ first Grapefruit League game was “a confidence builder.”
“It’s good to get out there and let them see some of your capabilities and what you can do on the field,” he said before the game. “It was a good thing for me [to see]. . . . Hopefully it’s an indication of an idea of where they think I might be able to fit in in the lineup, and it also gives them a look of how I handle that position. I’m excited about it, and hopefully we can do this more often than not.”
Weeks is battling Ryan Flaherty for the starting second base job. Weeks has a minor league option remaining, but Manager Buck Showalter said Thursday that will not work against him.
“The sky is the limit with me,” Weeks said. “That’s how I feel. And whatever I put forth and the energy and determination you put into it, you get good results. I think the work we’re putting in here and the way I’m approaching it, I feel like there’s going to be good results.”
He’s had a strong showing already. During the club’s first intrasquad game on Wednesday, Weeks made a nice over-the-shoulder leaping grab of a line drive. In Thursday’s intrasquad game, he singled and walked. After his fourth-inning walk, he also tagged and took second base on a flyball to center.
“[It’s] not only the speed, but being smart with the speed is one of the things I try to pride myself in, from learning over the years how to be smarter and being the speed guy that I’m supposed to be,” Weeks said. “It’s one of my best quality traits.”
Chris Tillman didn’t waste any time reminding everyone why he was the winningest pitcher on the team’s staff last year. He struck out three and gave up just one hit over two innings against a representative Rays lineup.
Monica Barlow, public relations director for the Baltimore Orioles, has died, the team said. A statement from the Orioles said Barlow died Friday of cancer. She was 36 and lived in Ellicott City. Barlow, a graduate of the College of William and Mary, was an intern for the Orioles in 1999. She worked for the Richmond Braves in 2000 and returned to the Orioles in 2001. She was promoted to director of public relations in 2008. Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos said in a statement that Barlow did not let her illness define her and the strength and resiliency she displayed were a great inspiration.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.