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As Orioles take a day of rest, a look back at spring training

By Eduardo A. Encina

The Baltimore Sun

7:00 AM EDT, March 28, 2014

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles can enjoy their final day in Florida.

Their Grapefruit League schedule complete and their exhibition game at Triple-A Norfolk in limbo, they can enjoy a day off Friday.

The forecast for Norfolk on Saturday doesn’t look good, and the Orioles could cancel that game at some point Friday if the weather outlook doesn’t improve.

If that happens, the team will work out in Sarasota one last time Saturday morning before hopping on a flight to Baltimore later that day. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the team can’t go two straight days without working out.

Showalter planned to meet with executive vice president Dan Duquette about some final roster moves before Duquette travels to Montreal for the reunion of the 1994 Montreal Expos, which had the best record in baseball before a strike cut short the season and which he is credited with building. Maybe he will pick up another Can-Am League player on the way back. 

Seriously, though, Duquette’s been scouring the waiver wire for players who could help the club, and Showalter said the club considered a claim Thursday but decided against it.

“It’s always tough for us on the field because you’ve been through six weeks on the field with these guys,” Showalter said. “You really hate to do that. You don’t like to do that if you don’t have to, but if the right thing shows up, we’ll go there. We make the mistake of thinking the 25 we start with as some finality. While we all hope it is, there are some people pitching in Norfolk potentially that we’re going to like as well as somebody that’s here, but you can’t carry 28.”

Alfredo Aceves is officially out of the mix. He exercised an opt-out clause Thursday.

Still, Showalter wouldn’t go as far as to say that nonroster right-hander Evan Meek has received a roster spot. Meek has allowed just one earned run on two hits over nine spring innings.

Speaking of roster spots, Jonathan Schoop has done everything necessary to earn one this spring. He added an RBI double Thursday night and is 15-for-39 this spring with five doubles, two homers and eight RBIs.

The roster doesn’t need to be finalized until 3 p.m. Sunday, but it likely that the final moves will be made by Saturday.

As a moving truck was stationed outside the Ed Smith Stadium complex after Thursday’s game, Showalter gave an evaluation of this spring.

“We got everything accomplished that we wanted to, for the most part,” he said. “We got where we wanted to get with Manny and, health-wise — knock on wood — I couldn’t ask for a whole lot better, all things considered. The people who needed to present themselves well, did. And we had the tough decisions we needed to have at the end. A couple of bumps with the weather. Other than that, we’re as ready as we can be.”

Barring a late move, the 25-man roster seems set, with Delmon Young and Steve Pearce getting the reserve outfield/right-handed designated hitter spots, Meek receiving the final bullpen spot and Schoop earning the final infielder spot.

Now on to Baltimore, with maybe a stop off in Norfolk.