Three weeks away from Opening Day, the Orioles continued to pare down their spring roster March 10, sending left-handed pitcher Tim Berry and catchers Michael Ohlman and Brian Ward out of major league camp.
All three players are homegrown products who joined the Orioles organization in 2009 and have spent their entire professional careers in the Birds' system. Berry, who will turn 23 March 18, is considered one of the Birds' most promising minor league pitchers, ranking No. 6 on Baseball America's list of Top 10 Orioles Prospects.
Berry, a 50th-round draft pick in 2009, enjoyed a breakout season for Single-A Frederick in 2013, posting a 3.85 ERA while ranking second in the Carolina League in wins (11), starts (27) and innings pitched (152). The Orioles added him to their 40-man roster in November 2013 to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft. Berry made two appearances in the Grapefruit League this spring, allowing one run in three innings.
Ohlman, like Berry, was rated as one of Baseball America's top 10 O's prospects, ranking No. 9. He spent the 2013 season as Berry's teammate at Frederick and was named the Topps Carolina League Player of the Year after producing a league-leading .313 average and .934 OPS. Ohlman, 23, was an 11th-round draft pick of the Orioles' in 2009. He made the most of his three at bats this spring, collecting two doubles and two RBIs.
The Orioles added both Berry and Ohlman to their 40-man roster in November 2013 to protect them from possibly being selected in the Rule 5 draft. The O's optioned both to Double-A Bowie March 10.
Ward, 28, is not on the Orioles' 40-man roster and was reassigned to minor league camp. Ward is considered a quality defensive catcher, but his bat has been slow to develop. In 2013, Ward batted .260/.345/.357/.702 during 49 games with Double-A Bowie and appeared in one game with Triple-A Norfolk as a defensive replacement.
In 2012, Ward received a 50-game suspension for a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, testing positive for a drug of abuse. Ward appeared in three games for the Orioles this spring, going 1-for-2.
The cuts leave the Orioles with 53 players in camp, including 15 non-roster invitees.