Mike Gonzalez will pitch the first inning of today's extended spring training game. The major leaguers go first.
Felix Pie has been performing various exercises for the last five days that are designed to strengthen the muscles in his back. He's also allowed to take one-handed swings in the cage.
Pie will continue this routine for two more weeks before being cleared to start hitting and throwing.
"I feel great, but the trainers and doctors say I have to wait," he said. "The decision will be up to them and the manager, but I feel great."
Pie said the plan calls for him to hit and throw here for about a week. He'll have to go on an injury rehab assignment before returning to the Orioles. Pie is aiming for June 20.
"I thought, because of the pain that I had in my shoulder, that it would take a lot longer," he said, "but now I can do things that I couldn't do before."
To demonstrate, Pie lifted his left arm above his head.
"Before, it hurt too much to do that," he said.
No wonder. Pie went on the disabled list April 16 with an injury to the latissimus dorsi muscle, which separated from the bone. He was batting .400 with a home run and two doubles in eight games.
The only soreness that Pie experiences now is in the muscles surrounding the injured area. And it's a good kind of sore.
Pie keeps track of the Orioles while he's here. He showed me the icon of the team's logo on his BlackBerry, which provides updates on every game.
"Every day, I look at what my team is doing," he said. "They're starting to play better. But sometimes it's a little sad because I want to be there and help the team, and I can't because I'm hurt."
At least he's getting better.