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Orioles debating how to solve Triple-A roster dilemma

Orioles manager Buck Showalter knows the numbers don’t add up.

The Orioles were successful in strengthening their depth this offseason, but the glut of outfielders will make it difficult to keep all of them in the organization.

“You guys have done the math,” Showalter told reporters Tuesday.

Before Tuesday’s Grapefruit League game in Fort Myers, the team reassigned outfielder Lew Ford to minor league camp with the hope that he will be in the mix for Triple-A at-bats, but knowing that there are only so many outfield spots in Norfolk.

It’s the only downside of building organizational depth as the Orioles have -- you’ve got to find where to stash them in the minors.

Young outfielders L.J. Hoes and Xavier Avery have both been optioned to Triple-A and probably need to stay there for their development. Both have aspects of the game they need to improve at that level.

The injury to designated hitter Wilson Betemit helps the crunch for now, as it opens a major league bench spot for a first baseman-outfielder like Steve Pearce or Conor Jackson, both of whom have played well this spring.

Russ Canzler, who can play first, third and the corner outfield positions, was optioned to Norfolk on Monday, so he will take a roster spot there. But that leaves non-roster invitees Trayvon Robinson, Chris Dickerson and Jason Pridie (who was reassigned Monday) as outfielders.

And keep in mind that non-roster player Travis Ishikawa will likely man first base at Norfolk, and Danny Valencia is lined up to the starting third baseman in Triple-A.

All of those players have major league experience and could help the big league club at some point, especially considering the fact that the Orioles used 52 different players last season.

The team has definitely showcased all of the mentioned players this spring, so maybe a trade is a possibility.

“It’s five [spots] into seven [players] now,” Showalter said. “{We’re] still contemplating how they are going to do it. It’s a good problem but it’s a challenge.”

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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