At least one of the Orioles' few roster battles became a little bit more clear on Sunday afternoon. Before the team's exhibition game against the Pirates got underway, they announced two cuts. Outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo was reassignd to the minor league camp and infielder Rey Navarro was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
When the Orioles signed Navarro back in November, he seemed like a player who might compete with Ryan Flaherty for the utility infielder role. However, much later in the offseason, the Orioles added a more experienced player once a pending legal matter resolved, so it seemed like Navarro was probably a bit farther out of the picture. Sure enough, with three weeks left in spring training, Navarro has been sent down to the minors.
In 12 at-bats over 12 games so far in spring games, Navarro batted .333/.385/.583. Small sample size, of course. Manager Buck Showalter told reporters that Navarro would probably end up as the starting second baseman at Norfolk. That likely makes him injury insurance, which is important, if not exciting, to have.
Tuiasosopo, a non-roster invitee, never looked like much more than camp filler. With an already-crowded outfield situation, there wasn't much chance that he would break through onto the roster. He got to the plate 11 times in eight games and did not record a hit. That makes it even harder to force his way to the top. But who knows, maybe he'll awaken into the next Nate McLouth, somehow.
These two cuts bring the Orioles camp roster down to 49 players, including 11 non-roster invitees. They are expected to make some more cuts tomorrow.