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Here are five places to visit for spring training

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Here are five places to visit for spring training

Grapefruit League games start on March 1, and if you’d like to take a tour of spring training parks, the Orioles play all of their Florida road contests within 90 minutes of their Sarasota home.

Here are five parks you might want to visit.

March 6-Orioles at Boston-JetBlue Park-Fort Myers

Fort Myers is home to both the Red Sox and Twins, located about 10 minutes apart. There’s a game each day, but because of traffic concerns, both teams aren’t home concurrently.

The Orioles aren’t likely to bring many of their big names to this game, and it’s one of three visits to Boston’s spring home.

Another, on March 17, is a split-squad. You should avoid those games because the Orioles will bring even fewer names to that one.

JetBlue has some modern features and a replica of Fenway’s Green Monster.

The players don’t like it because the home and visiting clubhouses are both down the left field line, and far too close to each other.

March 9-Orioles at Phillies-Bright House Networks Park-Clearwater

The Orioles’ Ed Smith Stadium is my favorite Florida location, but this one is another great one. The Orioles make only one

About 70 minutes from Sarasota, this park has lots of parking and sells lots of cheesesteaks. The seats are comfortable and the view is terrific.

It has a modern atmosphere, too.

The best part of any trip to Clearwater is the postgame visit to Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill for a grouper sandwich and she crab soup. It’s about 15 minutes away from the ballpark on Clearwater Beach.

RELATED: Orioles often try to entice local players

March 18-Orioles at Yankee-Steinbrenner Field-Tampa

The Orioles play the Yankees twice in Tampa. While it’s not a breathtaking ballpark, and bears little resemblance to Yankee Stadium, it’s a pleasant place to watch a game.

Steinbrenner Field is just minutes away from Tampa International and just down the road from Raymond James Stadium, the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa has lots of great restaurants within a few minutes of the ballpark.

March 22-Orioles at Twins-Hammond Stadium-Fort Myers

Just down the road from JetBlue Park, this is the underrated gem of the Grapefruit League.

Buck Showalter doesn’t like to bring his starters on the road, but this is one place he likes.

The field is in immaculate shape, and it’s late enough in the spring that he may actually bring some of the boldface names along.

After the game, head to one of my favorite spots, the Cape Cod Fish Company, which has superb clams as well as fish and chips.

March 27-Orioles at Pirates-McKechnie Field-Bradenton

Like the March 18 game, this is a night game. If you’re visiting Sarasota, you’re only 20 minutes away.

McKechnie Field is old and charming, but parking can be tough.

This year, the Orioles don’t visit another of Florida’s unique parks, Joker Marchant Stadium, home of the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland. It’s about 90 minutes from Sarasota.

NOTE: The Orioles signed 40-year-old left-handed pitcher Hideki Okajima to a minor league contract. Okajima pitched for Boston from 2007-2011 with a 17-8 record and 3.11 ERA. He last pitched in the major leagues in 2013 when he appeared in five games.

MORE ORIOLES: What are the five biggest questions for Orioles?

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 

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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

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USA TODAY Sports

David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."

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