SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? The Orioles resume play today with a 6:35 p.m. game with the New York Yankees in Tampa. Mike Wright, who has pitched 10 scoreless innings, will start. John Means, Nate Karns, Richard Bleier, Mychal Givens, and Josh Lucas are scheduled to follow.
The Orioles reduced their roster by eight players. Three big names — Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz, and two high draft choices, outfielder DJ Stewart and infielder Ryan Mouncastle — were the most noteworthy to go.
Diaz, who was in his major league spring training, was reassigned to minor league camp. He batted .333 with a home run and seven RBIs. Mountcastle, in his second major league camp, was also reassigned to minor league camp. He hit .286 with a home run and four RBIs, and played first base for the first time as a professional.
Stewart, who was the Orioles’ first-round selection in 2015 and spent part of last September with the team, was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. He hit .267 with three RBIs.
Right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz, who had a 14.40 ERA was optioned to Norfolk. Another right-hander, Dillon Tate, who had a 7.71 ERA, was optioned to Double-A Bowie.
Left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin, right-hander Bo Schultz and catcher Martin Cervenka were reassigned to minor league camp.
Gilmartin had a 9.00 ERA, Schultz a 16.20 ERA and Cervenka, who made three errors in Saturday’s 17-15 win at Tampa Bay, hit .286 with two home runs and four RBIs.
The cuts leave the Orioles with 46 players in camp.
Left-handed pitcher Josh Osich, who was designated for assignment when Dwight Smith Jr. was acquired, was claimed on waivers by the Chicago White Sox.
Manager Brandon Hyde hasn’t set a date for Alex Cobb’s next start. Cobb’s wife had a baby daughter Friday night, and on Sunday morning he threw a simulated game, featuring at-bats by Chris Davis, Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo.
Mancini will play more first base in the final two weeks of camp, starting tonight.
“You’re going to see guys move around a little bit more,” Hyde said. “Just to get guys acclimated so that when the season comes, I don’t put them in a spot where they haven’t been over there. You’re going to see that with a lot of guys.”
What’s happened?—Josh Rogers allowed two runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings in the Orioles’ 8-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
“I think I threw the ball better than my line will look,” Rogers said.
Rogers hadn’t worked with catcher Jesus Sucre, starting just his second game with the Orioles.
“He’s awesome, man,” Rogers said. “He’s really, really good behind the plate. It gives you a lot of confidence having a guy like that behind you. A lot of trust in that.”
Rogers is competing for a starting spot, but doesn’t think he’s earned one.
“I hope they’re thinking about it,” Rogers said. “I wouldn’t say I’ve earned anything. I haven’t done anything. Just to continue to throw and, hopefully, I get another shot at it and they can see what I can do.”
Hyde liked what he saw from Rogers.
“He gave us three-plus good innings,” Hyde said. “He had some unfortunate luck in the fourth.”
Miguel Castro, Paul Fry and Branden Kline combined for four scoreless innings, but Pedro Araujo allowed three runs on four hits in the eighth.
Stewart, Joey Rickard, and Jonathan Villar each had two hits.
What’s up with? Jonathan Villar. Villar played second base on Sunday. Early in spring training, Villar indicated a preference for shortstop.
“I’ll play anywhere,” Villar said. “I like shortstop. Right now, I’m playing second base. It’s the same game.”
Villar stole his third base of the spring, and is enjoying the team’s aggressiveness on the bases.
“Right now, it’s better here because they like to run the bases,” Villar said. “I feel more comfortable right here. I feel I can run on every pitch.”
What’s what? None of the cuts was surprising, although Stewart’s came earlier than expected.
Diaz hit well in his first big league camp but cutting him allows him to leave the Ed Smith Stadium complex with some satisfaction that he can play with major leaguers without teasing him into thinking he’ll be kept with the Orioles for Opening Day.
Stewart didn’t seem to impress the new staff, and Mountcastle needs to play a position to make himself a legitimate major league prospect.
What’s the word? “I told him before the game, ‘I’m not shaking today. I’m not going to mess with that.’”-Rogers on telling Sucre he would throw whatever pitches the catcher signaled.
What’s the number? 21. Through Sunday’s games, the Orioles lead the Grapefruit League with 21 stolen bases.
What’s the record? 9-7-2. The Orioles play the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field tonight at 6:35.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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