The Baltimore Orioles have completed their spring exhibition schedule, which includes a club-record 23 games against American League competition.
The 31-game preseason schedule is virtually devoid of home games, thanks to the club's decision to give up its home base at PTC Miami's Bobby Maduro Stadium, but much of the exhibition action will take place in and around the Sarasota, Fla., area.
"We felt that games in Sarasota and Bradenton would function as a home schedule," Orioles president Larry Lucchino said. "We were very concerned about a burdensome travel schedule, so we tried to structure it with as many games as possible around Sarasota."
The Orioles will make a pair of overnight road trips, visiting Fort Lauderdale for back-to-back games against the New York Yankees March 9-10 and playing at Fort Lauderdale and Port St. Lucie (New York Mets) on March 19-20. The club will close out the exhibition schedule with a nine-game trip through southeastern Florida before heading north to play two games against the defending AL East champion Boston Red Sox at RFK Stadium.
In the past few years, Orioles spring training camp has been split between two sites. Early workouts were held in Sarasota, but the major-league club moved to Miami for the bulk of the exhibition schedule.
"We are hopeful that it will be less grueling than last year," Lucchino said. "It's tough when you have to move the whole team across the state. We're mindful of the travel. It's more desirable to have a home base, but we have six games at Sarasota and a few more in Bradenton."
In all, the Orioles play more than half of the schedule against four AL teams -- the Yankees (seven games), the Red Sox (four games), the Chicago White Sox (three games) and the Texas Rangers (three games).
Meanwhile, the Orioles continue to negotiate with Collier County officials over a lease arrangement for a proposed permanent spring training facility in Naples, Fla. The site has been agreed upon, and a facility could be completed in as few as 10 months, but work cannot begin until details of the lease are worked out.