The Orioles' busy week of roster cuts continued March 12 as they reassigned three more non-roster invitees -- including left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez -- to minor league camp.
Rodriguez, 20, is considered one of the Birds' most promising young pitchers. Baseball America ranked him as the Orioles' No. 3 prospect, behind right-handed pitchers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, and ESPN's Keith Law ranked Rodriguez No. 43 on his list of the top 100 prospects in baseball.
Rodriguez earned his first invitation to big league spring training this year after a successful 2013 season in the minor leagues. Rodriguez began the 2013 season at Single-A Frederick, posting a 2.85 ERA during 14 starts, then was promoted to Double-A Bowie for 11 starts, compiling a 4.22 ERA. Rodriguez also pitched in the 2013 Futures Game, a showcase of up-and-coming prospects, at New York's Citi Field July 14.
In 2014, Rodriguez's first appearance at major league camp didn't go smoothly. He made three appearances -- all of them two innings in length -- and allowed multiple runs during each game, including a two-run outing against the Phillies shortly before his demotion March 12. All told, Rodriguez allowed 12 hits and eight runs in six innings. He could return to Bowie to start the 2014 season, but a hot start could earn him a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk.
Additionally, the Orioles reassigned right-handed pitcher Brock Huntzinger and infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. to minor league camp March 12. Huntzinger, 25, was one of the biggest surprises of camp, a little-known minor league veteran who displayed impressive stuff during three appearances, striking out four batters in 3.2 innings. Though he'll start the season in the minors, Huntzinger might have opened enough eyes that he could be an early-season call-up to provide bullpen help.
De Jesus, 26, the son of longtime major league shortstop Ivan De Jesus, is the only one of the three with previous big league experience, appearing in 48 games for the Dodgers and Red Sox in 2011 and 2012. The Orioles signed him as a minor league free agent Dec. 16, 2013. De Jesus played in 11 of the Orioles' 13 Grapefruit League games before his reassignment, going 3-for-12. He struggled with his defense, committing two errors.
The Orioles have cut 15 players from March 7 to March 12, leaving 47 players at major league camp. The Birds will need to make 22 more cuts by March 31 to finalize their 25-man Opening Day roster.