Spring Training Game Whatever: Nationals @ Orioles, 1:05pm

Even though he knows better, Esskay is allowing himself to get his hopes up for Jake Arrieta for the upcoming season.

The Orioles' record in the Grapefruit League coming into today's game is 8-9-4. This would matter a heck of a lot more if between one-third and one-half of all games were contested mostly between both teams' not-quite-ready prospects, fringe prospects, and journeyman scrubs. It would also matter more if the games counted for anything.

The time is approaching where the games will start to count, though. After today, there are only eight more games against major league teams. Past that, the rust had better be knocked out, because it'll be real, live major league players in games that count in the standings.

For those whose problem is needing to get healthy, there are now less than two weeks on the calendar to do so. Some, like Zach Britton, we know will not be ready for Opening Day. Others, we can only go off what they are telling the writers, so you get headlines like Johnson confident he'll be ready for opener and Markakis out of lineup. It seems that Nick had the choice of whether or not to play today and he chose not to play, but don't worry, because he's just doing it so he can play on Monday night and bat against a lefty while getting some game action under the lights. I guess that means Nick is not going to be playing tomorrow afternoon against the Phillies either.

None of it counts yet, so none of it matters, but time is running short for shenanigans to be employed to hide a player's injury status. Hopefully whoever needs to do so can get right over the next 10 days.

As for today's meaningless lineup: Flaherty (RF), Hardy, Betemit, Jones, Wieters, Reynolds, Davis, Reimold, Andino

Your starting pitcher is Jake Arrieta. I am on the record in any medium where I can convince people to pay attention to my mad ramblings that I am excited for what Arrieta might do this year. The game doesn't matter today, but for all that, it'd still be better to see meaningless positive signs than meaningless negative ones. At least for the six innings where the actual major league players are in the game.

Whether or not it matters, the day is dull and dreary here in the Baltimore area, and you probably don't have much else better to do. Why not brighten things up a little with some Orioles baseball? The game will be televised on MASN and MLB.TV, and on the radio on WBAL.

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