The Orioles began making their first cuts of the spring on Saturday, although some of the players may hang around for an extra day or two before they depart to the team’s Minor League complex in Sarasota. Perhaps the most prominent of the cuts was right-hander Chris Tillman, who’s considered one of the team’s best pitching prospects.
Tillman, just 20 years old, is expected to split the season between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk and might be the first of Baltimore’s top prospects to reach the Majors. For now, he’s concentrating on what he has to do next.
“They kind of let me know I’m here for the experience and to get to know the guys. The time will come,” he said. “They’re not sure where I’ll start because there are so many pitchers now, which is a good thing. I’m happy to be part of it. And either way, it’s a positive.”
Other cuts include Jake Arrieta, Fredy Deza, Ryan Keefer, Adam Donachie, Jose Reyes and Craig Brazell. The Orioles also announced after the game that they were also reassigning first-round draftee Brian Matusz, Troy Patton, David Hernandez, Chorye Spoone and Jim Hoey to their Minor League camp in Sarasota, wrapping up the first round of cuts.
The Orioles got their Spring Training slate underway on Tuesday, when they played a highly informal exhibition game against Team Italy that wasn’t even marked on the schedule. Baltimore had originally planned to play an intrasquad game but reconsidered at the request of Italian manager Marco Mazzieri, who is a friend of Orioles manager Dave Trembley.
Trembley let that friendship dictate his roster decisions, and he played a combination of lightly tested big-leaguers and highly touted prospects. Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman both pitched scoreless innings for the Orioles, and Matt Wieters started behind the plate.
Utilityman Donnie Murphy drove in the first run with a double, and Craig Brazell later made it a three-run game with a bloop single to center field. Baltimore will get its exhibition season started in earnest on Wednesday with a game against the Mets at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.