SARASOTA, Fla. — The Orioles made their first roster cuts of spring training Monday, optioning right-handed reliever Oliver Drake to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigning third baseman Michael Almanzar, right-hander Dane De La Rosa, left-hander Chris Jones and catcher Brian Ward to minor league camp.
With the moves, the Orioles now have 52 players in big league camp, including 12 non-roster invitees.
None of the moves were surprises, especially with minor league camp now underway. All five players are expected to open the season at Triple-A Norfolk.
Drake, who was re-signed to a major league deal this offseason after a year in which he posted 31 saves, allowed four runs on four hits over 1 1/3 innings this spring. All four of those runs came in the Orioles' Grapefruit League opener, when Drake (Navy) allowed a grand slam to Detroit Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes in the fourth inning.
Jones allowed a three-run homer in that game. He was charged with just one run over 2 2/3 spring innings.
Almanzar was 2-for-5 this spring, hitting a game-tying home run in Thursday's road split-squad game. He was a Rule 5 selection of the Orioles last season who was sent back to the Boston Red Sox in the middle of the season before being re-acquired an August trade along with Kelly Johnson.
Ward, who came to camp as the sixth catcher, played in four games – all as a reserve – and was 2-for-4 in Grapefruit League play.
De La Rosa did not pitch in Grapefruit League play after surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee on Sept. 18.