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Prospect Schoop spent offseason getting stronger

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles infielder Jonathan Schoop put his newfound power on full display Friday, blasting a homer over one of the back field's fences and right into a nearby car in the parking lot.

Schoop only heard the sound of the ball making contact with the vehicle and joked that, fortunately, he never heard from the car's owner.

"I don't have the money for that," he said, smiling.

Schoop set out this offseason to add strength, particularly in his legs, and succeeded in gaining eight to 10 pounds of muscle. The 22-year-old prospect worked out over the winter with another Curacao native, Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar.

"If you want to play the whole season strong, [getting stronger] is part of the game," Schoop said. "You've got to get stronger for you to last through it. ... I feel like I'm done growing, but I can get stronger, stronger for myself to get better. The stronger you are, the better baseball player you are."

Schoop, ranked by as Baltimore's No. 5 Prospect, said he hasn't been told if he'll start the season with the Orioles or Triple-A Norfolk, nor has he heard what positions he'll be playing this spring. With Manny Machado at third base and J.J. Hardy at shortstop, it would appear Schoop's most likely home in the short term is at second base.

"I just come to camp to ... work hard. Whatever happens, I just want to play baseball," Schoop said. "If I start at Norfolk, I'll work hard to get in the big leagues. And if I start in the big leagues, I'll do my best to stay there."

The Orioles called up Schoop in September, and he went 4-for-14 with a home run in five games. Schoop began the year in the World Baseball Classic and finished it in the Arizona Fall League, but he battled injuries during the regular season. Still, Schoop said he thinks he can build on his brief stint in the Majors.

"It helped me a lot because you gain experience, you play with the best guys in the world," Schoop said. "It helped me a lot to play in a game, play against Boston, play against Toronto, all those great teams. It helped me for this year."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.
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