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Orioles notes on outfield search, Colby Rasmus, minicamp and more

This month's minicamp in Sarasota, Fla., will allow the Orioles to get a lot accomplished.

As the Orioles continue their search for outfield help, they still maintain interest in free-agent outfielder Colby Rasmus.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter spoke with Rasmus on Saturday, a source said. But a deal with Rasmus, who is seen as the top remaining outfielder on the free-agent market, wasn’t imminent before the scheduled meeting and still isn’t now.

The Orioles’ top priority remains filling outfield holes created by the losses of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis. Even though the existing free-agent outfield options are depleted, options include Rasmus, Ichiro Suzuki and Nori Aoki.

Rasmus has expressed interest in coming to Baltimore, and a one-year deal would allow him a platform to test the free-agent waters again after the 2015 season, much like Cruz did this past year with the Orioles.

** This time next week, several Orioles players will be gathering in Sarasota, Fla., to participate in a three-day minicamp at the team’s major league spring training complex.

This will be the second year the Orioles will hold a minicamp in Florida -- they held one in Baltimore before FanFest in 2012 and 2013 -- and last year’s was incredibly successful for several reasons.

The main thrust of the camp is to get a look at some of the organization’s young pitchers before spring training begins. The weather in Florida allows the Orioles to get much more done compared to the typical cold weather in Baltimore.

It also allows staff to see some of the team’s position players who are returning from injury. Third baseman Manny Machado, who is recovering from knee surgery, is expected to be there for the minicamp. He has been rehabbing in Sarasota this offseason in between getting married and going on his honeymoon.

Catcher Matt Wieters, who had Tommy John elbow surgery in June, likely won’t attend. He has been rehabbing in Atlanta and likely will stay there to continue. The Orioles still believe Wieters is on schedule to be ready for Opening Day, but they have been seeking a backup catcher with experience just in case Wieters’ recovery is slow.

Last year’s camp was an opportunity for incoming pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti to get a glimpse of the organization’s pitching corps. In Sarasota, the pair watched bullpen sessions and got to meet with pitchers one-on-one.

Just like last year, Wallace and Chiti plan to travel to California after the minicamp to meet with a group of pitchers there that includes Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Miguel Gonzalez and Wei-Yin Chen.

The minicamp is also where the Orioles can bring in free agents they want to see. Last year, Delmon Young and Jack Cust came to Sarasota to work out and speak with manager Buck Showalter.

The Orioles signed Young to a minor league deal, and he was a key contributor in 2014 (Young agreed to a one-year, $2.25 million deal for 2015 last month, pending a physical that is set for this week). They passed on Cust.

eencina@baltsun.com

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