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.