Still no meetings scheduled regarding Showalter extension (Ford agrees to terms)

One of the hot rumors at the general managers meetings in Indians Wells, Calif., involves the Orioles moving closer to signing manager Buck Showalter to a contract extension.

There's little doubt that a deal will get done. As Showalter has told me in the past, it will be a short conversation. But nothing is scheduled at the moment.

Showalter is into his third week of rehabilitation back home in Texas after undergoing a partial replacement of his right knee. It's a six-to-nine-week process, depending on his rate of recovery. He's in no condition to travel right now.

Orioles majority owner Peter G. Angelos and Showalter met after the Orioles lost Game 5 of the American League Division Series. Showalter doesn't consider a new contract to be a pressing matter, and they agreed to meet again later in the year.

If his health allows it, Showalter could return to Baltimore by early December, at which point he would sit down with Angelos and discuss an extension. Nothing in imminent, but it's going to happen.

Meanwhile, the contracts of hitting coach Jim Presley, pitching coach Rick Adair and third base coach DeMarlo Hale expire next month, and Showalter has stated that he wants his entire staff to remain intact. Bench coach John Russell, first base coach Wayne Kirby and bullpen coach Bill Castro are under contract for 2013.

The Blue Jays haven't sought permission to interview Hale for their vacant managerial position.

Note: An Orioles official has confirmed that the club reached agreement on a minor league deal with outfielder Lew Ford that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ford, 35, refused his outright assignment last Friday and elected to become a free agent. He batted .183/.256/.352 with three home runs in 25 games for the Orioles, his first major league action since 2007 with Minnesota.

The Orioles also are trying to re-sign infielder Steve Tolleson and left-hander Zach Phillips to minor league deals after they declined their outright assignments.

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