Orioles re-sign Chris Jones (with postgame Showalter)

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles have signed left-hander Chris Jones to a Triple-A contract.

The team announced the signing shortly before the end of a 9-2 loss to the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles designated Jones for assignment to make room for Nelson Cruz on the 40-man roster. He cleared waivers and the club released him.

The Orioles worked out a new deal with Jones, who is expected to report to the minor league complex at Twin Lakes Park.

The Orioles originally acquired the 25-year-old from the Braves in April for reliever Luis Ayala. He went 4-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 36 appearances (two starts) at Double-A and Triple-A between the Orioles and Braves organizations in 2013.

Jones spent the majority of the season at Triple-A Norfolk, going 4-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 31 appearances.

Update: The Orioles confirmed that Chris Jones will report to Twin Lakes Park.

The Orioles couldn’t outright Jones after he cleared waivers for contractual reasons. He had to be released and was free to sign with any organization.

Manager Buck Showalter joked that outfielder Francisco Peguero stands to make some money, a reference to giving up his No. 57 to left-hander Johan Santana.

The Orioles won’t confirm that they have an agreement with Santana, but that’s what I’ve been told. He just hasn’t signed a contract.

“We had him tutoring Eduardo (Rodriguez),” Showalter said, grinning.

“I told you when we started that there were irons in the fire. That’s been going on for quite some time. Certain things like that come to fruition at different times.”

Is he the last Santana who could become an Oriole?

“I wouldn’t say that and be completely sure that it’s true,” Showalter said.

Alfredo Aceves, in his first appearance with the Orioles, retired all three batters he faced. His fastball routinely was clocked at 92 mph.

“He wanted to pitch yesterday,” Showalter said. “I think it was good just to kind of get that out of the way. I thought he handled himself well. He threw the ball well.”

Showalter was going to remove Matt Wieters after three at-bats or six innings, but he stayed behind the plate to catch Aceves.

Aceves will take one or two days off and work two innings, then take two days off and throw three innings.

Jonathan Schoop went 2-for-2 today, making him 4-for-6 with two doubles and three RBIs in the Grapefruit League. He also homered in both intrasquad games.

“He’s going to take advantage of every opportunity he gets,” Showalter said. “He’s been locked in - he seems to be in a good place offensively - since the first intrasquad game. Really, BP.”

Could Schoop force his way into the opening day lineup as the starting second baseman?

“Force it? I wouldn’t use the word ‘force.’ I’d say he’s competing for the job,” Showalter replied.

“There’s nobody ahead of him or behind him right now. He’s very much in the mix, as he was the day he got here. In my mind, I can tell you for sure, there’s nothing in stone about where he’s going to start the year, down or up. In fact, we made sure he knows that.

“(Jemile) Weeks and Ryan (Flaherty), the good thing is all three of those guys have options. He’s certainly very much in the mix.

“We’re going to take the best 25.”

Showalter reminded reporters that the Orioles are likely to face a left-hander on opening day, Boston’s Jon Lester.

The Orioles still don’t know when Suk-min Yoon will leave the club and fly to Canada to obtain his work visa. It’s no longer expected that he will depart on Tuesday.

Each day that passes seems to push Yoon closer to Triple-A Norfolk for the start of the season.

Nick Markakis’ double in right-center field would have been a home run without the wind.

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