SARASOTA, Fla. - Manager Buck Showalter was clearly impressed with first baseman Joe Mahoney, the organization's minor league Player of the Year in 2010 who was cut earlier today.
Mahoney was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after going 7-for-17.
"One thing you have to realize is this guy went from 250, 260 to 20-something pounds less than he was," Showalter said. "He's done a lot to put himself on the map. Keep in mind he was our minor league Player of the Year. This guy really popped last year with his skill set. He's a slightly above average runner, capable of playing left field and first base. I like that he wasn't intimidated by the level of play. He's right where he should be. I think he's primed to have that year that's similar to last year and maybe even better."
Mahoney isn't assured of beginning the year at Norfolk. He could be sent to Double-A Bowie, with Brandon Snyder starting at first base for the Tides.
"Where he ends up is up to him. Where he starts is up to (player development," Showalter said.
"The Double-A/Triple-A level to me has really closed up over the last 10 years, between those levels of play. And the level between Triple-A and the majors has gotten wider and wider."
Mahoney dealt with a few minor injuries in camp, fouling a ball off his knee and tweaking his hamstring, but it was a positive experience for him.