SARASOTA Fla.-What’s happening? – The Orioles cut their roster to 39 Sunday, when they optioned outfielders Austin Hays and Anthony Santander, right-handed pitchers Cody Carroll, Branden Kline and Yefry Ramirez and infielder Stevie Wilkerson to Triple-A Norfolk. They also reassigned infielder Christopher Bostick and right-hander Gabriel Ynoa to minor league camp.
The moves leave the Orioles with 39 players on the spring training roster.
Hays was the biggest name cut, and general manager Mike Elias thinks sending him out now is the right move, even thought Hays was batting .351 and leading the team with five home runs and 13 RBIs.
“Spring training is spring training,” Elias said. “Couldn’t be more excited about him, and he understands the reasons why we’re doing what we’re doing. I think he knows it’s the best thing for him and his long-term career.”
Elias said that he hopes Hays can play center and right field for the Orioles.
“Center field is more valuable to a major league roster,” Elias said. “He has the speed and the athleticism to play center field at the major league level. He really hasn’t played it that much in his life, relatively speaking…He still has work to do on polishing his reads and routes, but the part you can’t teach is the speed and athleticism, which he has.”
Manager Brandon Hyde believes that too much is made of the Opening Day roster.
“It looks like a lot different in June,” Hyde said. “There’s always this deadline of Opening Day…It’s a big deal to be on an Opening Day roster. At the same time, it’s one of 162. There are six months to go. Some guys are going to impact our club that aren’t going to be on our Opening Day roster.”
Andrew Cashner starts against the Detroit Tigers as the Orioles pay their only visit to Lakeland today. Jimmy Yacabonis, Nate Karns, Richard Bleier, Miguel Castro, Mychal Givens and Josh Lucas are also scheduled to pitch for the Orioles.
What’s happened?— Mike Wright allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings as the Orioles lost to the New York Yankees, 5-3, on Sunday.
Wright allowed home runs to Luke Voit, Miguel Anduar and Zach Zehner.
He threw 10 scoreless innings to begin spring training, but in his last two starts, both against the Yankees, Wright has allowed six runs on 14 hits in 7 2/3 innings.
“Got to keep the ball in the park,” Wright said. “Other than that, I thought it was a pretty solid outing. I’m glad I got through five, finally stretched past three. They’re a good hitting team, even though that’s not their starting lineup per se. Still a lot of good guys in there.”
Wright doesn’t think he’s locked up a starter’s job.
“I’ve never secured anything at any point,” Wright said. “There’s a while before we need a fifth starter. My mentality is to get outs on Opening Day.”
Hyde thought that the Yankees took aggressive swings against Wright.
“Got a little predictable at times,” Hyde said. “They took advantage of it. He’s got a really good changeup. I’d like to see him utilize it a little bit more, keep guys off-balance.”
Pedro Araujo pitched 1 2/3 innings, giving up a hit and walking one. Paul Fry threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings and has thrown 8 1/3 innings without giving up a run.
Miguel Castro allowed his first run of the spring in his first of back-to-back games.
Joey Rickard had two hits and is batting .405.
“He’s had a great camp,” Hyde said. “He’s a good baseball player, and he’s played like that this spring with his aggressiveness and at-bats all camp.”
Chris Davis was 1-for-3 with an RBI single and walk.
“I thought he had really good swings,” Hyde said. “This was his best day from an at-bat standpoint.”
What’s up with? Jack Reinheimer. Still in competition for the utility job, Reinheimer is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with a home run and three RBIs.
“It’s cool because usually there’s one or two things you want to work on in spring. It kind of takes a while to get your feet under you,” Reinheimer said.
“There’s a lot of talented guys in here,” Reinheimer said. “Makes for good competition. Down the road, it’s going to be good because it’s going to bring out the best in everybody.”
Reinheimer watched eight of his teammates get cut, but he’s still here.
“It’s never a fun conversation to have,” Reinheimer said. “I feel like I’m a big-leaguer, and I feel like I deserve to be in the big leagues, but I think that’s the same mindset everybody has.”
What’s what? Drew Jackson’s versatility is making him a good bet to stick with the Orioles, and Elias said that his ability to play the outfield gives him an advantage. Because he’s a Rule 5 player, that helps his chances enormously.
“The Rule 5 players, by their nature, have a little bit of an inside edge to breaking with the team,” Elias said. ‘Just because you can’t option them or they’re going to go back to their host organizations. We want to maximize our looks at those guys. It’s a little bit tougher choice to send them out of camp because you flat out lose them from the organization.”
What’s the word? “As soon as they’re ready and they have their development behind them in the minor leagues, and they’re ready to contribute and, most importantly, to stick up here, because I don’t want to see these guys come up and then struggle and fail and have to go back down, we’ll have them on the team.”–Elias on the players sent to the minors.
What’s the number. 9. With the cuts, the Orioles still have nine non-roster players on their spring roster. They’re pitchers Gregory Infante, who has never reported because of health issues, Josh Lucas, catchers Carlos Perez, Jesus Sucre, Andrew Susac, infielders Alcides Escobar, Jace Peterson, Jack Reinheimer and outfielder Eric Young Jr.
What’s the record? 11-11-2. The Orioles play the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland at 1:05 p.m.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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