SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles pitcher Tommy Hunter did long toss and threw off flat ground on Friday morning and said he's not concerned with the lower back stiffness that prompted the team to switch his Tuesday start to a simulated game.
"Just because [Fort Myers] is an hour and a half away, just trying to watch my lower back a little bit," said Hunter, who was initially scheduled to pitch Tuesday against the Red Sox. "I'm not concerned at all, I can still pitch. I've been throwing bullpens with it. It just hasn't been getting better, so we're just going to give it a few days."
Hunter, who did not pitch in Friday's intrasquad game and will not pitch in Saturday's intrasquad game, said if this was the regular season, he'd be making his scheduled start and he made sure the team was aware of that. The 25-year-old right-hander, who went 3-3 with a 5.06 ERA in 12 games for the Orioles last season, is expected to be in the Opening Day rotation, if healthy.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the team is being "cautious while you still can be," in regards to Hunter, and the thinking with Tuesday's simulated game is that the team can control the environment.