SARASOTA, Fla. - As Orioles manager Buck Showalter sat in his office following today’s 4-1 loss to the Twins in Fort Myers, he talked about reliever Brad Brach’s impressive spring training and mentioned how he planned on making at least one cut tonight.
Showalter indicated that the roster move would involve a pitcher who wouldn’t be scheduled to throw in Wednesday’s split-squad games.
As it turned out, Showalter was twice referencing Brach.
The Orioles optioned Brach to Triple-A Norfolk, leaving 40 players in camp, including six non-roster invitees.
It’s simply a case of the Orioles not having enough room in their bullpen.
Brach retired the Twins in order today and allowed only two runs and six hits in 8 1/3 innings, with one walk and eight strikeouts. The runs scored on two solo homers in a March 9 game against the Pirates.
Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day, Ryan Webb, Brian Matusz and Zach Britton likely have spots locked up for opening day, and Josh Stinson probably will be included barring a late trade, since he’s excelled this spring and is out of options. Evan Meek and Alfredo Aceves appear to be vying for one spot, assuming that the Orioles go with a 12-man staff.
Showalter said the decision is pending, but he’s leaning toward having 12 pitchers and a four-man bench.
The Orioles acquired Brach from the Padres on Nov. 25 for minor league pitcher Devin Jones.
“Brach’s had a good spring,” Showalter said this afternoon. “He made it tough on us.”