A chaotic spring training came to an end on a brutally long evening in Philadelphia. After the rain-delayed 8-7 win over the Phillies, the Orioles made a series of moves that got them closer to their Opening Day roster.
The Orioles still have until noon on Sunday to finalize their 25-man roster.
There weren’t any real surprises among the cuts, but there’s one player remaining on their roster who didn’t figure to be there a few weeks ago.
Xavier Avery, who played for the Orioles in 2012, is the only non-roster invitee still on hand. Avery, who hit his fourth home run of the spring on Friday night, and stole a base, left the team in Aug. 2013 when he was sent to Seattle for Michael Morse.
Several organizations later, he’s back, and if Hyun Soo Kim somehow changes his mind and accepts a minor league assignment, and the Orioles don’t pick up another outfielder, Avery could make his first Opening Day roster.
Kim, who had been silent in recent days, told reporters in Philadelphia that he would not accept a demotion, and he pinch hit in Friday night’s game, his first playing time in six days.
By noon Sunday, the Kim drama will come to an end—for the moment.
Two non-roster pitchers, Pedro Beato and Todd Redmond, were assigned to minor league camp. Two other pitchers with major league experience, Chaz Roe and Zach Phillips, passed through waivers and were assigned to Norfolk. Outfielder L.J. Hoes and infielder Steve Tolleson were assigned to minor league camp as was infielder Paul Janish. Catcher Francisco Pena was optioned to Norfolk.
All moves were expected though there was some thought the Orioles could keep Janish and Ryan Flaherty because of Flaherty’s ability to play the outfield.
Because of a provision in his contract, Janish had to be made available to every major league team, but for now, the Showalter favorite stays in the organization.
As for Avery, his speed and defense help, and so does being a left-handed hitter. He has tools that Kim, who is also left-handed doesn’t have.
For now, T.J. McFarland and Vance Worley are the 11th and 12th pitchers on the roster, but the Orioles continue to look for alternatives.
With Brian Matusz starting the season on the disabled list, only McFarland and Zach Britton are left-handers. Matusz, Kevin Gausman and Jimmy Paredes will be placed on the disabled list to start the season.
The Orioles continue to hope that Miguel Gonzalez, who is now a free agent will accept a minor league deal and go to Norfolk. Several other organizations are interested in Gonzalez, but none may offer him a major league contract.
NOTES: Minor league infielder Felix Rutledge received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse. Former Orioles catcher Taylor Teagarden was suspended 80 games for a violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. … Rick Dempsey and Maryland State Senator Bobby Zirkin will throw out first pitches on Opening Day. … The Orioles roster is now at 37 with the removal of Gonzalez, Phillips and Roe. They have 29 players on their spring roster.