Orioles make first camp cuts

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles made their first round of spring training cuts today, optioning pitcher Oliver Drake to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigning catcher Brian Ward, infielder Michael Almanzar and pitchers Chris Jones and Dane De La Rosa to minor league camp.

Non-roster players are reassigned. Players on the 40-man roster are optioned.

Drake allowed four earned runs over 1 1/3 innings in two appearances. Ward was 2-for-4, Almanzar was 2-for-5 and Jones allowed one run over 2 2/3 innings in two games.

De La Rosa didn’t pitch this spring while recovering from knee surgery.

almanzar-fielding-orange-sidebar.jpgWith these moves, the Orioles now have 52 players at major league camp, including 12 non-roster invitees.

Manager Buck Showalter indicated that the club might cut more players following today’s game.

Removing Ward is the biggest surprise for me. Showalter loves his defense.

Showalter must feel good about Matt Wieters’ progress. Wieters is scheduled to catch in his first exhibition game on March 17.

Players who are optioned and reassigned can be brought back to camp and play in games. Twin Lakes Park isn’t that far away.

As for today’s game, Chris Tillman allowed a hit, walked a batter and struck out one in a scoreless first inning. He threw 23 pitches, 15 for strikes, by my unofficial count.

In the second, he retired the side in order on two ground balls and a liner to left field. That’s two scoreless innings for Tillman in his Grapefruit League debut, with 21 of 32 pitches thrown for strikes.

Tillman’s fastball topped out at 96 mph and mostly sat at 93 mph.

Brian Matusz is warming in the bullpen.

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