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Orioles, Alejandro De Aza go to arbitration; Chris Davis has plan to battle shift

The Orioles and Alejandro De Aza went arbitration on Friday.
The Orioles and Alejandro De Aza went arbitration on Friday. (Jared Wickerham / Getty Images)

The Orioles went to arbitration with outfielder Alejandro De Aza on Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

A decision is expected to be made by Saturday night.

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De Aza and the Orioles were only $650,000 apart on salary figures. He is the team's only arbitration-eligible player whose contract is not resolved.

A loss would be the first for Orioles general counsel H. Russell Smouse -- he has won all seven previous cases. Since managing partner Peter G. Angelos took over the team in 1993, the club is 9-1. Their only loss was to Ben McDonald and his agent, Scott Boras, in 1995.

The Orioles had 11 arbitration-eligible players this season. De Aza was the only one to go to a hearing and the first to go to arbitration since Brad Bergesen lost his case before the 2012 season.

-- Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked Friday about some recent comments made by first baseman Chris Davis on Baltimore radio in which Davis said he was considering bunting more in order to beat the defensive shift that has been played against him.

"He's said that the last three years," Showalter said. "I wish he wouldn't talk about it. It would be like if Oregon decided to run the wishbone in a bowl game. They wouldn't talk about it. They would just break it out on the first snap."

On the Orioles' hot stove radio show last week, Davis said he wasn't very comfortable trying to bunt against the shift, especially as he struggled at the plate, but has spent more time working on bunting this past offseason.

"I think you're going to see some adjustments made to some shifts," Showalter said. "You saw it some last year. I think you're going to see more and more of it. Whether Chris is a participant? There's a lot of things that happen in the spring that don't carry over.

"I love that look pitchers give you when you're in a shift and somebody bunts for a base hit," Showalter joked. "They hate that. Of course they don't look at you when there's a one hopper to right field that somebody throws you out at first."

New commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned in a recent ESPN interview that he would consider the possibility of eliminating defensive shifts.

One last item of note: The Orioles completed their trade with the Pirates for Travis Snider, sending minor-league left-hander Steven Brault to Pittsburgh.

Brault, the Orioles' 11th-round pick in 2013, showed success in the lower levels of the Orioles' minor league system. He was 11-8 with a 2.77 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) last season between low-A Delmarva and high-A Frederick. With the Keys, he allowed just one run on seven hits over 16 1/3 innings in three starts, going 2-0 with a 0.55 ERA.

The Orioles also dealt left-hander Stephen Tarpley in the deal.

In their 2013 draft, the Orioles took four left-handers in the first 11 rounds. They dealt two of them -- Tarpley and Brault -- in the Snider deal. They took 22 pitchers in that draft, including 10 lefties.

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