SARASOTA, Fla. -- In Dan Connolly’s 25-man Opening Day roster breakdown, he said that the battle for the final two bench spots -- between Steve Pearce, Nolan Reimold, Delmon Young and Michael Almanzar -- will be the top roster battle as spring training winds down.
I asked Orioles manager Buck Showalter about Young, the 28-year-old former No. 1 overall pick who has a bona fide track record as a hitter. Young went through a 1-for-19 stretch this spring, but is 6-for-12 recently with two doubles and a homer.
“I never really saw a point where he was struggling, maybe statistically with someone who keeps up with batting averages,” Showalter said. “I know one day he hit three balls on the button. It’s what we hoped would happen. Him and Stevie. Nolan’s last three or four games, he looks more like Nolan. We’ve got some decisions to make.
“I don’t know if anyone has squared the ball up more from start to finish than Pearce,” Showalter continued. “All the guys, if they didn’t know then, they know now – Stevie does – that you’re going to get an opportunity. ... That one is going to be tough. From my perspective, I’ll say what’s my best 25, and we’ll see if it matches up with the right 25, if you know what I mean.”
Showalter added that he's noticed more scouts than usual this spring and the number has increased in recent days as the Orioles might have to drop a valuable player.
"A lot of vultures are lurking with our out-of-option guys," he said. "We’ve got quite an attendance there. I get a list of the scouts every day. If anything it’s gotten more. We had 17 here the other day."