More on roster cuts..
The Orioles 25-man roster is starting to shape up as the team trimmed the roster by eight players on Monday, removing pitchers David Riske, Mark Hendrickson, Ryan Drese, Clay Rapada, Pat Egan, outfielders Nolan Reimold and Randy Winn and infielder Nick Green from contention. Pitcher Rick VandenHurk was also informed he wouldn’t make the team on Monday morning.
The moves leaves the bullpen picture nearly set and the team with 29 players in camp, although there is expected to be one or two more cuts before Monday is over. Brendan Harris and top pitching prospect Zach Britton are likely headed to Minor League camp, and with starter Justin Duchscherer expected to begin the season on the disabled list the team’s Opening Day roster is starting to sort itself out.
The O’s bullpen projects to be Kevin Gregg, Koji Uehara, Michael Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, Jeremy Accardo, Josh Rupe and Jason Berken, although nothing is official.
A lot of what the Orioles still have to decide on depends on starter Brad Bergesen, who threw a bullpen on Monday, and is scheduled to throw a couple innings on Wednesday to keep the Orioles “options open” in terms of Sunday’s series finale start against Tampa Bay. There is a chance Bergesen could make the team as a starter or an extra reliever, with the latter scenario meaning Chris Tillman would get the start.
The Orioles can go with four starters until April 10 by using their scheduled off-days, and they will make do until April 21, which is when Britton could come up and not be allotted a full year of service time. By keeping Britton in the Minors for at least 20 days, he will remain under team control for another full year, until 2017. The decision isn’t financial — the O’s have no intention of leaving Britton in the Minors long enough to delay his arbitration years — but they do want to keep the 23-year-old lefty from entering free agency a year early.
Duchscherer, who was slated to throw two innings in a Minor League game Monday ,is also targeting April 21 for his return.