NORFOLK, Va. (AP) Jonathan Schoop tried to say he just had something in his eye. Then he came clean.
Yes, the infielder did get emotional when he was told he had made Baltimore’s 25-man roster.
”I worked hard for this,” a smiling Schoop said after the Orioles wrapped up spring training with a rain-shortened 4-3 victory over Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday. ”It’s what everybody dreams for.”
The 22-year-old Schoop is one of Baltimore’s top prospects and provides infield depth in the absence of injured third baseman Manny Machado. But manager Buck Showalter said Schoop might have made the team anyway.
”I’d like to think it wouldn’t have been a different scenario even if Manny hadn’t gotten hurt,” Showalter said.
Schoop said his determination to begin the season with the Orioles intensified last year, when he spent the final five games of the regular season with the big league club.
”I got a taste last year and I never wanted to go back,” he said. ”That was my mentality.”
The exhibition against the Tides was played in a persistent rain before it was stopped after 5 1/2 innings following a 28-minute rain delay.
Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer and Ryan Flaherty singled home a run for the Orioles. Nelson Cruz, who left Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay after getting hit in the helmet with a pitch, had a single and two walks in three plate appearances.
The Orioles optioned pitchers Kevin Gausman and T.J. McFarland and infielder Jemile Weeks to Triple-A Norfolk, putting Schoop and outfielders Delmon Young and Steve Pearce on the team.
Showalter said the veteran Young simply worked his way onto the Orioles roster.
”He knew exactly what was going to be required of him when he came into camp and he did exactly that from the first day he walked in the door,” Showalter said. ”Nobody’s played with more effort. He was the first guy in the ballpark – I had a hard time beating him there – and the last guy to leave. And after he found out today, he played just as hard.”
Pearce earned a roster spot with a series of solid at-bats during the spring.
”I don’t know if anyone’s squared the ball up more that Steve,” Showalter said. ”Steve Pearce is a professional hitter.”
Showalter added that he lets the position players relay news that a player has made the roster.
”If it’s bad news, it comes from me,” he said.
Outfielder Nick Markakis was a late scratch after getting off the flight to Norfolk with a stiff neck.
Markakis said he was cautiously optimistic he would be available for Monday’s regular-season opener against Boston.
”It’s getting better, but it’s too early to tell,” he said. ”Let’s see how it feels tomorrow.”
Machado, who will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list, remained in Florida to attend to a personal matter but will be in Baltimore on Monday to join J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones in receiving 2013 Gold Gloves in a ceremony before the season opener. Machado also will receive a Platinum Glove, which is given to the best individual defender in each league.
Machado then will return to Sarasota for extended spring training.