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March 29, 2011

Orioles send out Britton, Harris, Tatum (Duchscherer on DL)

The Orioles have made what appears to be their final three cuts of the spring.

Lefty pitcher Zach Britton, who has been the club’s best starter this month, reserve catcher Craig Tatum and infielder Brendan Harris were told that they were being re-assigned to minor-league camp this afternoon.

That means the other players on the roster bubble – pitchers Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen and infielder Robert Andino – will all break camp, if healthy, with the Orioles.

It also means utility man Jake Fox, who has hit a major-league leading 10 spring homers, will be the club’s lone back-up catcher.

Tatum is considered better defensively than Fox, but Fox is out of options and Tatum still has a minor-league option remaining.

Tatum hit .216 in 37 at-bats this spring and missed a week after tweaking a side muscle. The 28-year-old catcher made the team out of spring last year, but was sent to the minors in July for three weeks – again primarily due to a roster crunch. He hit .289 with no homers in 43 games with the Orioles in 2010.

Britton, 23, allowed just three runs in 20 spring innings (1.35 ERA) further establishing himself as the club’s best pitching prospect. He has made just 12 starts above Double-A, however, and will start at Triple-A Norfolk. If he stays in the minors for at least 20 days, it will delay his service-time clock, essentially making him eligible for free agency in 2017 instead of 2016.

Harris, 30, was not on the Orioles’ 40-man roster after coming over from the Minnesota Twins in the J.J. Hardy deal. He hit .226 in 53 spring at-bats with two homers and 10 RBIs.

Andino was one of the more intriguing players on the roster bubble. He is out of options and the club did not expect the 26-year-old utility infielder to clear waivers. However, he serves a similar role as veteran Cesar Izturis, who was signed to a $1.5 million deal this winter to be the club’s reserve infielder.

Andino hit .283 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 53 spring at-bats.

Tillman, 22, and Bergesen, 25, were battling for a spot in the Orioles’ four-man rotation. Now, they both likely will make the team, assuming Bergesen (right forearm contusion) feels fine after a simulated game Wednesday.

Either Tillman or Bergesen will start the third game of the regular season on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that hasn’t been determined yet, but Bergesen seems more of an option to pitch out of the bullpen.

The Orioles won’t need a fifth starter until April 10. Tillman or Bergesen could make that start.

The Orioles also put pitcher Justin Duchscherer on the disabled list with left hip soreness. He hopes to be ready to pitch in a big-league game by April 20.

Also, technically on the camp roster is pitcher Rick VandenHurk, who has been put on waivers. The Orioles will know Wednesday whether he has cleared and will go to Triple-A Norfolk. They have not announced the waiver move yet.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 12:14 PM | | Comments (13)



The roster is set for now, but have you heard anything on possible trades? I really thought they would look at getting another lefty that might be out of options. I also was curious if you were a little surprised with Tillman making the team? I know Matusz is bruised up a bit, but I am not sure Tillman is ready. I honestly thought they if they didn't make a trade for a lefty that Hendrickson would be on the roster because he can pitch multiple innings and start if need be.


Andy often makes trades at the end of spring, so you cant rule it out. Andino and Izturis are basically duplications, so if someone wants a MI, the Orioles have a surplus.

Andino in,Harris out, SPECTRE Aprroves
Fox in, Tatum out,SPECTRE Disaprroves
Reimold out, sent down to AAA, SPECTRE Disaprroves
Britton out, sent down to AAA, SPECTRE Aprroves
2 Approves, 2 Disapproves

A tie breaker in this situation would be to trade for Joe Blanton.SPECTRE would approve and would even use its money to make it happen.

By summertime, if the team is playing at least respectably, Britton will be back and contributing. Lee will be either gone or on the DL. Hand injuries are just too difficult from which to return. Mahoney or Fox will be at 1B and surprising everyone. Pie will be on the DL, so Reimold will be back.

Jeff Z's reply: Forget the summer time. Britton will in Baltimore in three weeks.

I'm sick and tired of the Orioles making deals in which we get nothing in return. Other clubs need to start taking us seriously.

See VandenHurk as a prime example of trading nothing for nothing. And there is no way either Andino or Itzuris will bring anyone of value.

Therefore we should keep both middle infielders and ship out Vandenhurst immediatly if he clears waivers, whcih they obvious think they will since they have him hanging out at team facilities doing nothing,. And should they have to pick between Andy and Itzy, pick Andy.

Dan, Jeff, et al,

Why do we have both Brendan Harris and Nick Green headed to Norfolk? Green especially has been very weak the past few years, and I'm curious what realistic role do we see him playing at Norfolk or here? We have Izturis, Andino, Harris, Green, and Adams in Bowie. Izturis represents the veteran defender, Andino the possible UT fo the future, and Adams the promising future infielder. Why do we need Green and Harris at all?

Jeff Z's reply: They're just inventory Petey. The Orioles wanted to make sure they added several more experienced middle infielders to give them insurance if Brian Roberts misses a chunk of time again this year. The people that need to be playing will play at Norfolk.


I thought arrieta was the third starter?

Jeff Z's reply: Depends on how you look at it Mike. Technically he is the third starter, but they slotted him to start the season's fourth game because they thought it would be a nice and well-earned reward to send him out there on Opening Day in Baltimore.

Fang: You make a very good point! Andy does not know how to make a trade where we get PROVEN returns. Nearly every trade he has made has been a disaster.

Can't people see? Andy is NOT going to make the moves necessary to put a winning product on the field. Making money for Ole Pete is his first and only priority.

1. The word is spelled "Approve".

2. Vandenhurst? Really? And though nobody has said it on this thread yet...its REIMOLD, NOT REIMHOLD.

3. Pretty sure they designate them all for assignment knowing that the vets are probably going to ask for their release. Harris will probably stay, Green will leave.


I still don't understand how this team can say that Fox has to back up Weiters, when it should be the general opinion the Manager, Coaches, and Execs that Fox took that job from Weiters. Its not as Weiters is in line to win a gold glove at the position himself. I want to win, Let Fox start.

Jeff z's reply: You've sent me some outrageous stuff over the years David - Remember your claim that the O's should give Pavano $75 million or whatever this offseason; how did that work out for Pavano? - but this by far takes the cake. Scouts question whether Fox can play adequate enough defense for him to serve as an occasional starter behind the plate and you are suggesting that he plays catcher everyday? I can't believe I even spent about eight lines justifying this with a comment.

@popodan and ESBC

Reimild- approve
Moldy Rye - disapprove
VanderHurk - disapprove
Lt. Van Buren -approve
Jake Fox - approve
Fox News - disapprove
Britton - approve
Britain - disapprove
Andino -disapprove
San Berdino - approve

Actually, there is one more move - for the O's to add Rupe to the roster by acquiring his contract from Norfolk when VandenHurk clears waivers.

I would argue in favor of Reimold if it were the starting LF spot but as a 4th OF on the bench,I much prefer to see if he puts up numbers with 4 AB a day at Norfolk.. No predictions after 4/21... I hope I am wrong but believe Tillman or Bergensen may need further work at AAA by then..Twenty days or so will tell..

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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