The Orioles whittled their camp roster to 50 players this afternoon while making their first moves since baseball’s shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pitcher David Hess, infielder/outfielder Ryan Mountcastle, outfielder Cedric Mullins and infielder Ramón Urías have been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. No cuts had been announced since left-hander Keegan Akin was optioned to the Tides back on March 10.
A few competitions gained some clarity today.
Mullins was a candidate to make the club as an extra outfielder or perhaps the starting right fielder in Trey Mancini’s absence. However, he went 4-for-19 with nine strikeouts in 12 games and won’t repeat last year’s inclusion on the opening day roster.
The Orioles named Mullins the starting center fielder, but optioned him after he collected only six hits in 64 at-bats. He didn’t play in the majors after April 21.
Hess began spring training with a chance to make the rotation, but the Orioles didn’t stretch him out. He was limited to two innings in three of his four appearances.
Hess allowed five runs and seven hits with five walks and eight strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings prior to the shutdown.
The Orioles could carry two utility infielders on their bench, but Urías apparently won’t be counted among them.
Urías went 2-for-11 in seven games after the Orioles claimed him off waivers from the Cardinals last month.
Mountcastle, one of the top prospects in the organization, wasn’t going to debut with the Orioles on opening day. The expectation all along was that he’d keep working on his outfield defense in the minors.
The Orioles kept working out Mountcastle at first base and left field. He appeared in 10 games and went 8-for-34 with three doubles, a home run and nine strikeouts. He didn’t draw a walk.