Aneury Tavarez stood by his locker in the Portland Sea Dogs’ clubhouse the other day, looking lost.

Oh, Tavarez knows his way around the clubhouse, having played for the Sea Dogs in 2015 and ’16. But his expression conveyed confusion.

What was he doing here?

Tavarez is an outfielder from the Dominican Republic. He was almost a major leaguer, thinking he was going to break spring training camp with the Baltimore Orioles.

Then a call into the office and just like that, Tavarez is back with the Boston Red Sox, in the minors.

“It’s a little hard. At the last second they say I don’t make the team,” Tavarez said of the Orioles, who placed him on waivers on March 29.

Tavarez, who will turn 25 next week, hoped to begin shaking his disappointment Thursday, when the Portland Sea Dogs were scheduled to open their season. But the opener was postponed until 6 p.m. Friday because of rain.

Tavarez just wants to play. His hope was to suit up for the Orioles after Baltimore selected him in the major league Rule 5 draft last December.

The draft is held to give a chance to players with enough years of experience, who aren’t on their own team’s 40-man roster. A drafted player joins the other team and stays there as long as he remains on the 25-man major league roster for the entire next season. If cut, he returns to his former franchise.

The Red Sox hadn’t put Tavarez on their 40-man roster even though he had a breakout year with the Sea Dogs in 2016, batting .335 with an .886 OPS and 18 stolen bases.

Baltimore chose Tavarez even though it had other outfield depth.

In spring training, Tavarez batted .292 and was 8 of 9 in stolen-base attempts.

“I gave 100 percent and I had a really good spring training,” Tavarez said. “So I don’t know what’s going on … they say you don’t make the team. You have to go back to Boston. I feel bad but I say OK. I can’t do anything.”

The Orioles’ depth pushed Tavarez away, especially after they signed veteran outfielder Craig Gentry to a minor league contract in February. Gentry had a good spring (.321, 7 of 7 in stolen-base attempts) and was put on the major league roster.

Baltimore liked Tavarez and tried to swing a trade with the Red Sox but couldn’t make a deal. The Orioles were forced to return him to Boston by Sunday.

“We felt strongly that he had a chance (to be a major leaguer) and still do,” Orioles Manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun, “and Boston does, too, because they took him back.”

Tavarez’s presence surprised Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles.

“That’s a guy I thought we wouldn’t have back,” Febles said. “Even if he was returned, I thought he would go to Triple-A. But (Pawtucket) already has so many outfielders.”

The PawSox have five outfielders – Rusney Castillo, Bryce Brentz, Brian Bogusevic, Junior Lake and Allen Craig.

So for now, Tavarez is back in Portland.

Besides the disappointment, Tavarez has a boatload of confidence.

“I feel I can play (in the majors). I think I can make that team,” he said. “I have to keep my head up. Every time I go to the field, I don’t think about what happened. I have to play for the moment.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: @ClearTheBases