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Jordan makes final push for June 7 draft

With the June 7 draft less than four weeks away, Orioles director of scouting Joe Jordan has whittled down his targets for the third overall pick, and he'll visit each of them over the next couple of weeks.

"I've got it down to four or five guys where our pick is going to come from," Jordan said while on a scouting trip Thursday afternoon. "I'm really going to stay on the guys that we've been on the whole time, visit with them and try to get to know them even more. I'm trying to get real good looks for the next 2 and 2 ½ weeks. There are no days off right now. We'll leave no stone unturned."

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Jordan will preside over West Coast regional scouting meetings, which start on Sunday, and then similar meetings with Midwest scouts after that. Then, he's hoping to see about 10 or 12 more games before lining up the names on the Orioles' wish list.

"Right now, we're just really circling back on the guys we like," he said. "It's all coming together."

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Jordan, of course, wasn't going to tip his hand on the four or five players the club is considering with the top pick, though most draft pundits think that the Orioles first selection will come from a group that includes University of Mississippi left-hander Drew Pomeranz, Woodlands (Tex.) High right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon, Cal State Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon, or Brito (Fla) High shortstop Manny Machado.

Jordan said several weeks ago that if all things were equal, he'd like to take an impact bat at No.3, but beyond junior college catcher Bryce Harper, who is expected to go first overall to the Washington Nationals, there are only a few hitters who project as early first-round picks. Zack Cox, a third baseman from the University of Arkansas, is one of them.

"We're going to have position guys that we like and they'll be plenty of pitching available," Jordan said. "We're going to have our options, and we're going to get a player we really like. To be honest, some of the guys that I felt like we're maybe on the [fringe] and had a chance to get in the mix, they haven't performed as well as I would have liked them to."

Jordan didn't mention any names, but LSU pitcher Antony Ranaudo is one player who was expected to go in the top few picks, but has had a disappointing season, and may have dropped out of Orioles' consideration.

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