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Carroll County Times

For the Birds: Pearce is the right man for final spot, plus other final roster decisions

Steve Pearce went through quite the journey during the 2012 season. After being released by the Minnesota Twins in March, he was picked up by the Yankees.

He then got purchased by the Baltimore Orioles in June, claimed off waiver by the Houston Astros in July, purchased by the Yankees in August, and finally selected off waiver by the Orioles in late September.

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This year, Pearce is most likely hoping he doesn't have to move as often. His 2013 season is already off to a good start.

Pearce learned on Saturday prior to the Spring Training finale that he had beat out Conor Jackson for the final spot on the Orioles' roster. Pearce should be the backup to Chris Davis at first base, but primarily getting his at-bats as an extra right-handed hitter against lefties.

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It was the right move, as Pearce hit well throughout the spring. He had seven home runs, hit .340, and had a team-high 18 RBIs.

Pearce was a solid contributor in his time with Baltimore last season, playing all of his games in the outfield.

In addition to Pearce, Orioles Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland recently found out he would be joining the Orioles in Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The left-hander won 16 games in the Cleveland minor league system in 2012.

There had been rumors of the Orioles moving a relief pitcher in order to create space for McFarland in the pen, but that became unnecessary when Chris Tillman was placed on the disabled list.

Tillman will be activated in time to start the fifth game of the season, but until then, Baltimore will carry an eight-man bullpen including McFarland. As a Rule 5 pick, McFarland has to remain on the major league roster all season.

There were no other big surprises on the Orioles' final roster, as those who were expected to make the team all did. The Baltimore bench will open featuring backup catcher Taylor Teagarden, Pearce, Ryan Flaherty, and Alexi Casilla.

It will be interesting to see if Pearce is able to prove his worth with his limited bench role, but he should get opportunities as Baltimore manager Buck Showalter often stacks his lineups with right-handed hitters when facing left-handed pitchers.


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