Orioles make two more cuts

BRADENTON, Fla. - The Orioles made two camp cuts before today’s game against the Pirates, optioning infielder Rey Navarro to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigning outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo to minor league camp.

The Orioles now have 49 players in spring training, including 11 non-roster invitees.

Navarro, who is projected to start at second base at Triple-A Norfolk, was 4-for-12 with a home run and two RBIs. The Orioles signed him to a major league deal in late November.

Tuiasosopo, who also could be placed on Norfolk’s roster, was 0-for-11.

More cuts are coming on Monday and will include pitchers in camp.

Manager Buck Showalter said he expects Navarro to play second base at Norfolk.

navarro-sidebar.jpg“He’s got a little pop,” Showalter said. “He’s a quality defender. Everything that they said he was, he was. Good kid. He can really play second base. Switch-hitter. I’ll tell you, he’s got a little juice. He could hit 12, 13, 14 home runs.

“I talked to a lot of people, actually managers he had. I’m glad we got him.”

Showalter arrived at McKechnie Field around 12:30 p.m. after watching the B game in Sarasota. He saw Matt Wieters catch six innings and Kevin Gausman pitch three innings and allowed one run. Closer Zach Britton worked two innings, recording five outs.

Wei-Yin Chen allowed back-to-back doubles to Josh Harrison and Neil Walker to start the Grapefruit League game, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead. However, he retired the next three batters to minimize the damage, getting a called third strike on Corey Hart.

Chen threw 21 pitches, 14 for strikes.

Steve Pearce singled in the top of the first inning and is 7-for-18 this spring.

Showalter continues to marvel at Manny Machado’s defense at third base and how freely he’s running the bases, showing no concern that he will reinjure the knee. He’s exuding confidence and performing at a high level.

“That tells how much, because he didn’t do it that quick last year with the knee,” Showalter said. “He had basically the same procedure. It might tell you how much more confident he feels now, because basically he knew there was a good chance that he was at some point in his career going to have to do the other knee. I think to get that out of the way, you can see that he’s playing with abandon. He doesn’t have any hesitation, any caution at all now.

“He was trying to steal again the other day and the guy starting quick-pitching him.”

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