SARASOTA, FLA. – The Orioles have released designated hitter/first baseman Jack Cust and first baseman Matt LaPorta, a pair of former major leaguers who were attempting to get back to the big leagues through the organization’s minor league camp.
There were five other minor league camp cuts on Friday: first baseman/outfielder Nikolas Balog, right-hander Casey Upperman, right-hander Zach Staniewicz, right-hander Julio Rodriguez and left-hander Harry Marino.
With the amount of organizational depth the Orioles have built, there was no space for Cust and LaPorta at the Triple-A level with a looming roster crunch, so they cut ties with both so they could possibly latch on elsewhere.
The club had an organizational staff meeting on Thursday to discuss the major league roster and in recent days the major league and Triple-A Norfolk staff has met to project the club’s Triple-A roster.
Cust, who didn’t play in 2013 after being cut by the Rays last spring, had a tryout during the team’s minicamp in January and signed a minor league deal. He has not played in a major league game since July 27, 2011.
LaPorta, a first-round pick in 2007, hadn’t played in the majors since 2012 and spent the majority of last season with the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A club. He signed a minor league deal with the Orioles in early February.