FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Feb. 23 -- Pitcher Jamie Walker, one of the Baltimore Orioles' prized free agent acquisitions this offseason, suffered a mild concussion Friday after being struck on the back of the head by a line drive from Nick Markakis during live batting practice. He was treated at a local hospital and is listed as day-to-day.
Walker, signed to a three-year, $12 million deal, bent down almost immediately after getting struck but never collapsed and was not bleeding. The sound of the baseball striking Walker's head was so loud that fans in the stands gasped.
"He said he was a tough son of a gun," Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo said. "That's what he said when I got there. I believe him."
Markakis seemed shaken by the experience. "It definitely made my heart skip a little bit," Markakis said. "You hate to see something like that happen. Hopefully, he's okay, and we can get him back out there as soon as we can. . . . I think it was an off-speed pitch. I saw it going right back up the middle, but everything happened so quick. It shocked me, pretty much."
Pitchers have the option of throwing with a screen in front of them. Walker chose not to use the screen.
"It's optional for the pitcher," Perlozzo said. "Some guys don't feel like they can throw the ball properly with the screen in front of them. If they want it in front, they can put it there. If they don't, they can take it away."
Fahey Takes StockTo see how quickly Orioles infielder-outfielder Brandon Fahey's stock has risen with the team since last year, one need only to look at where Fahey has been placed in the locker room. Last year, Fahey's locker was tiny and placed right near the entrance. This year, Fahey has a cozy locker in the back.
"It was kind of a crazy year for me and I enjoyed it," Fahey said.
When Orioles utility infielder Chris Gomez was sidelined for two months with a broken hand, Baltimore called on Fahey to take his place. Fahey responded with a decent season, hitting .235, while providing steady defense in the infield and in left field. This year, Fahey prepared as if he was going to return to being strictly an infielder.
"I took more ground balls [this offseason] than I did outfield work," Fahey said.
Fahey said he gained 15 pounds this winter. But even by adding 15 pounds, Fahey's frame still seems slight.
Fahey will likely need an exemplary spring to make the team.
"I thought it went pretty well today. You're going to have a few glitches here and there, but overall, I thought the guys put a good effort in. I think we got our point across in how we want it done." -- Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo on his team's fielding practice Friday