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Orioles could have David Lough open season on disabled list

David Lough hasn't played in a game in a week and the Orioles say he isn't close to returning. That probably means he'll be opening the season on the disabled list.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Following Sunday's split-squad games, Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters that outfielder David Lough could be headed to the disabled list at the beginning of the season. Lough has been plagued by injuries to both his hamstring and back and is not close to returning. There are now just eight days until Opening Day. If you're not close now, you won't be ready on April 6.

Lough has played in 13 games this spring, last appearing on March 22. That's a full week now where he hasn't played.

With Lough likely to open up the season on the DL as a result of these injuries, that's a spot open on the roster that wasn't there before. Of course, that's assuming that Lough was ticketed as an automatic to make the roster since he profiled as the best outfielder who could play all three positions out there. That may not have been the case.

The Orioles are not without other options as possible center field backups. Alejandro De Aza has played 2,621.1 career big league innings in center field. For about two-thirds of those innings he was kind of OK. The other third of those innings came in 2013 with the White Sox and he was pretty bad, at least as far as Defensive Runs Saved is concerned, rating a -18 in a mere 888.2 innings.

Another option is that the O's could go for one super-utility player who can back up most of the infield and outfield in a pinch. They signed a free agent who was previously with the Padres perhaps with that in mind. If they go that route, then Ryan Flaherty would likely be headed to Norfolk.

The question of who is the backup center fielder is not one that may concern them greatly. Adam Jones played 155 games in the field last year. He is human and needs a break sometimes, but he hasn't needed a big one in recent years. And if something bad happens and he misses an extended period of time, heck, the Orioles are in trouble anyway, right?

If the Orioles decide that De Aza can double as the backup to center field, that could potentially open up a place that might not have been there for a couple of this spring's surprising performers, either Jimmy Paredes or Nolan Reimold, as well.