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Schoop begins Minor League rehab assignment

Special to MLB.com

OAKLAND -- The struggling Orioles are looking for any spark to ignite their roster after a sluggish April. Perhaps the return of Jonathan Schoop could be that spark.

Schoop began a planned three-game rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie on Friday, starting at second base and batting second against the Akron RubberDucks. The Orioles hope to have Schoop back on the Major League roster in time for Tuesday's series opener against the Royals in Baltimore.

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OAKLAND -- The struggling Orioles are looking for any spark to ignite their roster after a sluggish April. Perhaps the return of Jonathan Schoop could be that spark.

Schoop began a planned three-game rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie on Friday, starting at second base and batting second against the Akron RubberDucks. The Orioles hope to have Schoop back on the Major League roster in time for Tuesday's series opener against the Royals in Baltimore.

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Though the plan was for Schoop to spend three games in Bowie, the team moved the 26-year-old second baseman to Triple-A Norfolk for Saturday and Sunday's games to avoid bad weather in Bowie.

Schoop has been on the 10-day disabled list since April 14 with a right oblique strain sustained during a swinging strikeout in Boston. He was sent on his rehab assignment after a successful recovery period in extended Spring Training.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter didn't indicate any specific target number of at-bats for Schoop's rehab -- rather, he just wants to make sure that Schoop is comfortable and won't be at risk of a recurrence of the injury upon his return.

"The worst thing to me is to rush this -- if he comes back and in his first at-bat, he goes back to square one," Showalter said. "We think we've caught it. Actually, we're ahead of schedule of what normally happens with an oblique muscle. So we think we've caught it early."

Britton takes fielding practice Saturday

Zach Britton threw another bullpen session before Friday's series opener in Oakland and took pitchers' fielding practice before Saturday's game.

"Just watching him run, cover first, and get off the mound -- he's starting to do it without thinking about it, and that's good to see," Showalter said. "It's remarkable how far along he is. He's done a great job with the rehab."

Showalter said that the next step for Britton would be to face hitters in live batting practice, but added that the two-time All-Star is not "quite there yet."

Britton recorded a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves in 2017 and continues to recover from a December 2017 surgery on his right Achilles tendon.

Other injury notes

• Showalter still expects that the recovery of third baseman Tim Beckham (left groin strain) will take six to seven weeks. Beckham underwent core muscular surgery on April 26 in Philadelphia to deal with a chronic groin problem.

"I don't think it'll be any earlier or later than that," Showalter said. "That's a pretty standard recovery on that. It'll be somewhere in that period."

• Outfielder Colby Rasmus (left hip flexor strain) has begun his recovery program and is "starting to do a lot of baseball activity," according to Showalter.

Do-Hyoung Park is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

Baltimore Orioles, Jonathan Schoop