BRADENTON, Fla. — The Orioles made nine roster moves heading into tonight’s Grapefruit League game with the Pirates, and when the dust clears, the team’s 25-man roster begins to get a little more clear.
The team optioned infielder Matt Antonelli to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigned infielder Steve Tolleson to minor-league camp, meaning that the Orioles’ utility spot is Ryan Flaherty’s to win. Since Flaherty was a Rule 5 pick, it doesn’t guarantee him the spot quite yet. Any time the O's cut Flaherty, they likely lose him to the Cubs, the team they drafted him from.
In that same vein, the Orioles’ bench is starting to take shape after the team reassigned outfielder Scott Beerer and catcher John Hester to minor league camp. It looks like Endy Chavez, Nick Johnson, Flaherty are more than likely on the roster. And either Ronny Paulino or a healthy Taylor Teagarden (Since he hasn’t been placed on the DL yet, there's some hope he's healthy enough makes the team out of camp) would be the back up catcher. That would leave outfielder Jai Miller, who has cooled since a hot spring start, as the odd man out.
Speaking of the disabled list, the Orioles placed both left-hander Zach Britton and second baseman Brian Roberts on the 15-day DL. We already knew this, but both will miss Opening Day.
It’s interesting that the Orioles optioned righthanders Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken to Triple-A Norfolk. Bergesen pitched pretty well (2-0, 3.75) after making a delivery adjustment this spring, but both were dark-horses to make the team and Berken just made his first spring appearance on Sunday after battling a hamstring injury. Both will be stretched out at minor league camp for them to start at Norfolk.
Dontrelle Willis’ reassignment to minor-league camp shouldn’t surprise either. When the Orioles signed Willis, to be a lefty relief specialist, executive vice president of baseball operations said Willis would likely need to be sent to Triple-A to make adjustments.
One point Orioles manager Buck Showalter made before the game was that some of these players showed that the organizational depth has been upgraded since last year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see many of them – Bergesen, Berken, Beerer, Antonelli and Tolleson – in big-league uniforms at some point this season.
There's expected to be one more cut later tonight.