SARASOTA, Fla. — It was just an exhibition game. But on this Saturday, a month and change removed from opening day, the pieces of the Orioles started to come together.

There was Corbin Burnes, the new ace acquired from Milwaukee. He threw to Adley Rutschman in a game for the first time, the batterymates still working on their budding relationship.

At second base was Jackson Holliday, the top prospect in baseball. He’s steps away from making his major league debut, but this spring will be a big test for him.

Here are three takeaways from the Orioles’ first spring training game.

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Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Corbin Burnes (39) throws a pitch during the team’s home opener against the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium on February 24, 2024. The Orioles beat the Red Sox, 4-3, in the Grapefruit League game. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Burnes’ first game in Orange

Burnes threw 22 pitches, 13 of which were strikes, in one inning, striking out two and allowing one hit. He emphasized his slider, especially against right-handed hitters, hoping to get a good feel for that pitch.

Saturday’s main objective was to get back into his start-day routine and to feel the adrenaline of pitching in a game again.

“For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s today, opening day, playoffs, I go out and approach the day as I would any other start,” Burnes said. “I go out prepared, get ready. Today was only for 20 pitches, but the way I go out and do my routine really doesn’t matter whether it’s game one, game 12 or game 162.”

His next start will look similar to this one, he said, but he might home in on a different pitch, perhaps his new curveball. He has his spring charted, carefully crafting what he needs to do in each outing so he can be capable of throwing 90 to 95 pitches on opening day.

“Today was just getting the feet wet,” he said. “All in all, a good outing, touched the mound. Got a couple swing and misses and working some good pitches.”

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Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jackson Holliday (87) throws to first base during the team’s home opener against the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium on February 24, 2024. The Orioles beat the Red Sox, 4-3, in the Grapefruit League game. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Holliday gets time at second

Holliday’s objective this spring is to get as comfortable as possible at second base, a spot he’s played 25 games at during his minor league career. If he has a path to make this team, he needs to show he can play there.

“We’re going to watch him early,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “As we get along through camp, maybe a little more details at the position and he’ll have questions. We just want to watch him play right now.”

Holliday played five innings at second, making two defensive plays, including teaming with Rutschman to catch a runner stealing. He went 0-for-2.

“He’s professional in the way he goes about his business,” Rutschman said. “He’s a hard worker, has looked great so far in spring training. It’s cool to have that first interaction.”

During the first inning of a game between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium, the scoreboard listed runs that hadn’t been scored and displayed that it was in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was one of many technological issues during the game played on February 24, 2024. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

A bad day for technology

The Orioles installed a new scoreboard at Ed Smith Stadium over the winter. It measures 4.8 feet tall and 51.9 feet wide, more than double the size of the old one.

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It didn’t work.

The scoreboard was functional between innings, showcasing fans around the stadium and the 50-50 raffle. But, during game action, it just showed the spring training logo, sometimes with the score and inning above it.

The MASN broadcast — one of only seven spring training games that the network will show — also had issues. The center field cameras were stationed on a crane, which made them unsteady against the Sarasota wind. Another camera had an orange tint over it.

Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman (35), right celebrates with right fielder Anthony Santander (25) after homering in the team’s home opener against the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium on February 24, 2024. The Orioles beat the Red Sox, 4-3, in the Grapefruit League game. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Danielle Allentuck covers the Orioles for The Baltimore Banner. She previously reported on the Rockies for the Denver Gazette and general sports assignments for The New York Times as part of its fellowship program. A Maryland native, Danielle grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from Ithaca College.

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