Notes: Walker back at practice

Notes: Walker back at practice following scare

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Jamie Walker returned to practice as an interested observer on Saturday, one day after getting struck by a line drive in the back of the head. Walker, a left-handed reliever, was diagnosed with a mild concussion Friday and said that he had little or no lingering effects to be concerned about Saturday.

"It knocked some sense in me. But I'm fine. Just sore," he said before his brief workout. "They're going to let me have a day off, I guess, and check me out tomorrow. ... Heck, sitting in the emergency room was worse than getting hit. I was there about four hours, but that's the way it is in emergency rooms. It's life and death.

"I understand it. They did a pretty good job getting me in there and getting me out."

Walker recounted the incident, which came while he was throwing live batting practice to right fielder Nick Markakis. The veteran said that his windup took him to a spot where he could see the ball coming but couldn't get his glove up in time. He tilted his head to deflect the impact and narrowly avoided a much more dangerous injury.

The 35-year-old never left his feet and never lost consciousness, but he said he lost his hearing for around five minutes. Walker likened the sensation to attending a rock concert and said it faded away over time. The veteran said he'll continue to pitch without a protective screen, largely because it would force him to alter his delivery.

"I never use them. I just don't like them," he said. "Obviously, I got hit, but that's baseball. It [isn't] the first time I've gotten hit and it probably won't be the last. I think it's the first time I got hit in the head, but luckily it wasn't in the front. It could do some damage if it got my eye or something. But I'm fine. Heck, it's part of the game."

Walker admitted that he might be gun-shy the next time he gets on the mound for live batting practice. He's looking forward to it, though, and said he hopes it will be sometime in the next few days.

Playing games: Three of Baltimore's youngest players -- Kurt Birkins, Jim Hoey and Brian Burress -- took their first steps toward appearing in a video game for the first time. The three players had their likenesses scanned for inclusion in the upcoming versions of games that hit the market shortly before the season starts.

"It's neat, because what they do is take a whole head scan. They take pictures of each side of your head and the top," said Hoey. "I actually saw an example on there, and it kind of looks like the same person. With the technology coming out these days, you can look at yourself and say, 'Whoa, that is me.'

"I used to play Nintendo and they didn't even have faces on some of the games."

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Hoey said he enjoys playing video games as a daily activity during Spring Training.

"The big thing now is Halo II. There are like seven of us that play," he said of a popular shoot-em-up game. "We have a setup in our room with three TVs and three Xboxes. When you get out of here, you have so much time to do stuff and you don't want to go out. Some people play golf, but to save money, I like to play video games.

"It kills a lot of time, then you go out for dinner, come back and watch a movie."

Dog days: Most of Baltimore's front-line players spent the day on the back fields, leaving the grounds of Fort Lauderdale Stadium to some younger prospects and reserves.

"There's some good looking kids over here," manager Sam Perlozzo said. "They had the dirty duty of facing the five live throwers. We got the regulars a little break off that and got their hands a little bit more rested. We got them some real good work on the back field and gave an opportunity for the other guys to come over here and work out."

Veteran reliever Paul Shuey has looked good in his comeback from a premature retirement caused by a lingering hip ailment. The right-hander has thrown well and has drawn attention from the team's decision-makers.

"The only thing I remember was when he was good, and he was nasty then. If he can get close to that, we've got ourselves a pitcher," Perlozzo said. "He looks good. He's an older fellow that's got a lot of little kid in him again. He feels good about himself. He's enjoying it. We're hoping he stays healthy and gives us a good effort this spring."

Quotable: "Just soreness. No dizziness, no headaches. I got a new tattoo on my head. That's it." -- Walker on the impact of the line drive

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.