FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -Jay Payton realizes he isn't exactly a perfect fit in the Baltimore Orioles' rebuilding program. He's not sure if there's a place for him in the outfield.
Heck, Payton doesn't even know if he will be with the Orioles at the end of the month.
``I could be here all year, I could be here half the year, I could be here another five days,'' he said Saturday upon his early arrival at spring training camp.
Payton has one season left on the two-year, $9 million contract he signed before the 2007 season. But is there a spot on the roster for a 35-year-old who batted .256 last year?
``I'm not 25, so I'm obviously not one of those young guys they're looking for in the future,'' he said. ``It's one of those things where, as an older guy, I've got to help these young guys out. I'll do everything I can, but on the same note I'm still here to play baseball. I'm out here trying to win a job and win at-bats.''
His competition is a new breed of Oriole, young players like Luke Scott and Adam Jones. Even Tike Redman, at 30, has fresher legs than Payton.
``I know I'm probably not the quote-unquote favorite, but this is the fourth year I've gone into spring training as the fourth outfielder and I've gotten 400 at-bats every year,'' Payton said. ``So I'm not going to worry about my status too much.''
Manager Dave Trembley said: ``I'm going to have to talk to him about what I see his role as being coming into camp. I know that he has some concern about that. We'll exchange some ideas.''
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