DuBose, Witasick, Wilson are demoted

Bauer is kept for bullpen as O's get down to 25 limit

Orioles

April 03, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Needing four more moves to get their roster down to the required limit of 25, the Orioles optioned pitcher Eric DuBose and infielder/outfielder Ramon Nivar to Triple-A Ottawa yesterday and reassigned pitcher Jay Witasick and infielder Enrique Wilson to their minor league camp.

On Friday, the Orioles placed pitchers Jason Grimsley and Kurt Ainsworth and outfielder Val Majewski on the 15-day disabled list. Since they're each expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2005 season, the club could transfer them to the 60-day list later in the year when creating space on the 40-man roster.

Witasick was expected to make the club after signing a minor league contract on Dec. 20, but he lost out to another right-handed reliever, Todd Williams, who hasn't allowed a run in 10 innings this spring. Williams is out of minor league options and would have needed to pass through waivers before going down.

Witasick was 2-0 with a 5.06 ERA in 10 2/3 innings as the Orioles prepared for today's exhibition finale against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Wilson and Witasick, a product of C. Milton Wright and UMBC, must decide whether to accept their assignments. A few weeks ago, Witasick told reporters that he didn't view himself as a Triple-A player, but it could be too late to find a job.

The Orioles kept Chris Gomez as their utility infielder, leaving no room for Wilson, who signed a minor league contract over the winter. Gomez, who's on the 40-man roster, is batting .328, 13 points higher than Wilson, a favorite of manager Lee Mazzilli from their days together with the New York Yankees.

Gomez almost didn't have a chance to make the team. The Phillies claimed him in the Rule 5 draft during the winter meetings, and the Orioles had to reacquire him a week later in a trade.

Because Mazzilli decided to keep 12 pitchers, he had to choose between Gomez and Wilson when comprising his four-man bench. Catcher Geronimo Gil and outfielders B.J. Surhoff and David Newhan are the other reserves.

The final roster also includes pitcher Rick Bauer, who was competing for the fifth starter's job. Mazzilli gave that assignment to left-hander Bruce Chen, but he'll keep Bauer in the bullpen rather than have him join Ottawa's rotation.

Mazzilli was open to having four left-handers in his bullpen, but he settled for closer B.J. Ryan, setup man Steve Kline and multi-purpose man John Parrish.

Baseball sections

Look for these special sections in The Sun:

Today: Baseball 2005, a preview of the Orioles, Nationals and the rest of the majors. Section O

Tomorrow: A preview of Opening Day, featuring an in-depth look at new Oriole Sammy Sosa.

Tuesday: Complete coverage of the Orioles-Athletics opener.

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