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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where Opening Day is three weeks away

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Down to Nick Markakis days to go until Opening Day for the Orioles. Today’s stuff: The Jay who got away, Wright keeps making his case, and more.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

There are now 21 days to go until Opening Day. Three weeks from today, there will be real baseball again! This uniform number was in use most recently from 2006-14 by Nick Markakis, who also happens to be the most significant Oriole to wear the number. So, you know, have a great, you know, day today.

The spring training schedule rolls on today as the Blue Jays will come to Sarasota for a game. Like many spring training games, this will be on neither TV nor radio in the Baltimore area. If you subscribe to the right MLB products, you'll be able to listen to a Blue Jays broadcast of the game, though, because the Jays put every spring game on the radio, even road ones.

With only three weeks to go until Opening Day, there are still 52 players remaining in big league camp with the Orioles as of this writing. Many players have been cut so far and they still have to cut more than half of those remaining. Most of those to be cut surely already know it's only a matter of time before it happens, but the more they can show themselves in front of the brass before they get optioned or reassigned, the more they might have a chance to work themselves into the picture later.

Although a whole lot of the Opening Day roster is more or less set in stone, barring injuries over the next few weeks, there are still a number of battles to be resolved over the remaining spring games.

We still don't know who will settle in as the fifth starter, what the catching situation will end up looking like, who will play right field and how that playing time will be divided, or who will settle into spots in the bullpen. The Orioles brain trust has a lot to figure out between now and March 29. Hopefully, their assessment of the best 25 players to start out the season with the team is the correct one.

Around the blogO'sphere

With each day, Hunter Harvey moves farther from surgery, closer to majors (Steve Melewski)
I know better than to get my hopes up for Hunter Harvey after all he’s been through - nothing against him at all, I just have the pessimistic belief that Orioles fans don’t get nice things. But I hope he pulls through.

Mike Wright Jr. continues to make case for Orioles' Opening Day roster spot in win over Rays (Baltimore Sun)
We’re still in the “positive articles about Mike Wright based on 2-3 spring training innings” phase of the exhibition schedule.

No excuses - including financial - hold up in Orioles' decision not to aggressively pursue Jay (Baltimore Baseball)
Jon Jay comes with a great nickname (The Federalist) and a great career OBP of .355. Dan Connolly is on the warpath about the Orioles not signing him. Apparently, Adam Jones lobbied for Jay, along with Manny Machado... though Jones also lobbied to re-sign Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, and Darren O’Day, which have all been bad decisions so far.

Showalter cautiously optimistic on Britton return (Orioles.com)
That previously mentioned pessimistic streak means I don’t expect Britton before July. Orioles optimists seem to hope to have him around in May. Well, it would be nice.

Edgin stays in the mix for left-handed relief (School of Roch)
You probably haven’t thought about Josh Edgin much before this, and you may not have many reasons afterwards to think of him either, but he’s pitched well in his limited spring opportunities, so maybe he will stay in the picture.

Who will be baseball's best player for the next five years? (ESPN)
Machado comes in at #5, according to Jeff Sullivan. Of course, four of those five years won’t be spent with the Orioles.

Birthdays and anniversaries

On this day in 2001, the Orioles put out a press release announcing that outfielder Albert Belle had been "found to be totally disabled and unable to perform as a Major League Baseball player." This was due to the now-infamous degenerative right hip. Belle was 34 at the time of the announcement and batted .281/.342/.474 the previous season.

There are a few former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 2009 four-gamer Chris Lambert, 2011 four-gamer Mark Worrell, the late Ryan Freel of the 2009 Orioles, 2002 short-timer Mike Moriarty, and Marv Breeding of the 1960-62 Orioles.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: longtime Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841), baseball player/author Jim Bouton (1939), Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jeffrey Eugenides (1960), and actors Freddie Prinze Jr. (1976) and James Van Der Beek (1977).

On this day in history...

In 1618, Johannes Kepler discovered the third of his three laws of planetary motion, which states: The square of the orbital period of a planet is proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit.

In 1775, an anonymous writer published a pamphlet entitled "African Slavery in America," the first such article in the colonies calling for the abolition of slavery and emancipation of all slaves.

In 1862, Union and Confederate naval forces fought the Battle of Hampton Roads, noteworthy for being the first combat in history between ironclad warships. The Confederates sunk two Union ships in the battle, but were unable to achieve their goal of breaking the Union blockade.

In 1910, a French aviator, Raymonde de Laroche, became the first woman to receive a pilot's license.

In 1983, President Reagan, appearing before a convention of Evangelicals, labeled the Soviet Union as an "evil empire."

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And that's the way it is in Birdland on March 8 - or at least, until something happens later. Have a safe Thursday.