Orioles send Rutschman to minor league camp, return Rule 5 picks Bailey, Rucker - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles send Rutschman to minor league camp, return Rule 5 picks Bailey, Rucker

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

SARASOTA, Florida—A day after he got his first spring training hit in his initial spring training, the Orioles reassigned catcher Adley Rutschman to minor league camp.

They also returned both of their Rule 5 picks — right-handed pitchers Brandon Bailey (Houston) and Michael Rucker (Chicago Cubs) back to the teams they were drafted from.

“These were tough decisions, especially with the Rule 5 guys because both are impressive,” general manager Mike Elias said. “It’s why we drafted them. They have big league stuff. They’re big league pitchers and will be pitching in the big leagues in the future.

“With our roster construction, with our starting rotation and the way that we feel is shaping up, we expect to be adding some pitchers to the 40-man roster before the end of camp and then we feel it’s going to be difficult with the new rules in 2020 — with respect to having only 13 pitchers on your roster at any given time, the lengthened option period from 10 days to 15 days, and then the three-batter minimum — just carrying Rule 5 pitchers from Double-A is going to hamper us.

“It was really tough because both guys came in and impressed really well The stuff really showed. In terms of getting down to decision time here in camp, we wanted to boil it down to the pitchers we thought we were going to be able to carry all year.”

Bailey was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two games. Rucker pitched five scoreless innings in three games.

The Orioles have two pitchers on minor league contracts — left-handers Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone — who might need to be added to the 40-man roster in the coming weeks.

Rutschman, the overall top pick in last June’s draft, pleased the Orioles.

“It was just really impressive how he handed himself,” Elias said. “That’s not easy to do, number 1 pick, all the hype, but you have to handle that and act like the minor leaguer that you are around the other players, and I think he managed to do that. He’s just got a got head on his shoulders. I’m just looking forward to seeing what he does this season in the minor leagues.”


Rutschman was 1-for-9 (.111) in seven games.

The Orioles also optioned right-handed pitcher Dean Kremer, who threw two scoreless innings in Thursday’s game, and outfielder Ryan McKenna to Triple-A Norfolk.

They also assigned catcher Martin Cervenka, right-handed pitchers Cristian Alvarado, Marcos Díplan, and Brady Rodgers and left-handed pitcher Hunter Cervenka to minor league camp.

Rodgers had yet to pitch because of arm soreness.

The Orioles have 54 players in camp.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. TheFatMan

    March 6, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Wow, first time in a long time no rule 5 guy on roster.

  2. Dunnsky89

    March 6, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Why does it matter if the Rule 5 guys wouldn’t be as good as some of the others. We’re gonna stink anyway, so we should’ve kept them.

  3. willmiranda

    March 6, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    These two were drafted to provide “competition” among pitchers in spring training. They’ve served their purpose. It’s not realistic to think of a Rule 5 guy in the starting rotation. It’s good to see Elias, Hyde & Co. starting to make decisions. I’m sure the Astros and Cubs will be happy to have their loaners back.

  4. CalsPals

    March 6, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    How about Chris Sales presser, at least he has a health reason for not performing to his contract…go O’s…

  5. Bumble bee

    March 6, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    I’m feeling that maybe we are turning the corner on actually being a competitive squad

  6. CGarcia

    March 6, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    Rich, I love your coverage on the young guys. Any plans to do stories on the infield guys like Gunnar Henderson, Adam Hall and Darell Hernaiz? They all play SS in the minor leagues.

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 6, 2020 at 8:18 pm

      Thank you, I’ve written a bit about Hall and Henderson, and Justin Fitzgerald, who covers the minor leagues for us, has written about them, too. I have not written about Hernaiz, but once the season starts, we’re planning on coverage of the minors each Monday.

  7. Bman

    March 6, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    It’s a little surprising. I thought at least one would make it. That’s a little disappointing.


      March 7, 2020 at 8:37 am

      Again with Elias performance doesn’t matter. neither gave up a run this spring.

  8. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 7, 2020 at 12:30 am

    I’ll wait to see who’s kept on the staff before crying about letting both these guys go. By all accounts, they both showed well in Fla.

  9. Earl

    March 7, 2020 at 2:49 am

    We are obviously still building right? Why not keep two quality pitchers? Why would we draft them, just to let them go? I don’t get it

    • CalsPals

      March 7, 2020 at 6:39 am

      Because we might win a few more games, who has shown more, either of them or Corn Cobb? Go O’s…


      March 7, 2020 at 8:38 am


    • ClayDal

      March 7, 2020 at 9:10 am

      The problem with Rule 5 picks is that they have to remain on the major league team all year. They can’t be optioned to the minors like other players. Even on a rebuilding team like the Orioles it would have been tough to carry 2 pitchers trying to make the jump from AA. Richie Martin stayed with the Orioles all last year, but he was an exception. Of the 14 players drafted in last years Rule 5 draft, 11 were sent back to their original teams. So this wasn’t unusual

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 7, 2020 at 9:26 am

        This is all very true CD, but the continual optioning of pitchers, aka the Norfolk express, is going to slow way down this year with the new rules. I’m surprised they didn’t keep one of these guys since according to Hyde, “they both have major league stuff”.

    • ClayDal

      March 7, 2020 at 9:37 am

      My guess is they needed to keep the 2 spots available for the Norfolk shuttle. I was surprised that they didn’t attempt to keep at least Bailey. If he became too much of a obstacle, then they could have sent him back to the Astros. But the Orioles don’t always do what I tell them to do. As for Hyde’s comment about them having major league stuff, he would say the same thing if we were trying to make the team. Managers like to boost confidence.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 7, 2020 at 12:35 pm

        Bottom line …it’s not like this team is currently pitching rich at the upper levels of the system.

  10. willmiranda

    March 7, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    To repeat myself, these two were rentals from the GM”s and manager’s friends in Houston and Chicago to provide “competition” in camp or at least a distraction during spring training. Present management is constantly making dead-end deals to create churn and the illusion of busyness as they go about The Plan, which they say will not show symptoms of success for several years. Meanwhile the media, professional and amateur, have something to talk about. Why have seventy guys in camp, except for human interest stories?

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