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Orioles make rare trip to Florida's east coast to play Cardinals in Jupiter

Since the Orioles moved their big-league spring training operations to Sarasota in 2010, playing games on the east coast of Florida have been rare.

The annual spring schedule is usually full of trips around the Tampa Bay area – Tampa, Clearwater, Dunedin, Lakeland, Bradenton – as well as trips south to Port Charlotte and Fort Myers with the occasional treks to the Orlando area to Disney World and Kissimmee.

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Thursday morning, the Orioles board the team bus at the Ed Smith Stadium complex and make a three-hour drive across the state to play the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.

It will be the first time the Orioles played a spring training game on the east coast since their first year in Sarasota in 2010, when they made a two-day trip to Jupiter to play the Marlins and Cardinals on March 23 and 24.

How long ago was that? Here's some perspective: It was four months before the Orioles hired Buck Showalter.

Showalter, who often points out the flaws of scheduling, isn't fond of making the trip. He's even less fond of the Orioles making a 90-minute trip north from Sarasota to Dunedin the next day to play the Toronto Blue Jays.

Like most teams do before traveling to a different city, the Orioles sent Thursday's starter, Bud Norris, to Jupiter on Wednesday so he could get a good night's sleep instead of being on an 8 a.m. bus through Florida orange groves.

He will likely bring most of the same players for both games, leaving most of the team's starters home for two days of workouts before the Orioles play their next home game Saturday against the Rays at Ed Smith Stadium.

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