SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles' 25-man roster is starting to shape up, as the team trimmed the roster by eight players on Monday, removing pitchers David Riske, Mark Hendrickson, Ryan Drese, Clay Rapada, Pat Egan, outfielders Nolan Reimold and Randy Winn and infielder Nick Green from contention. Pitcher Rick VandenHurk was also informed he wouldn't make the team on Monday morning.
The moves leave the bullpen picture nearly set and the team with 29 players in camp, although there is expected to be one or two more cuts on Monday. Brendan Harris and top pitching prospect Zach Britton are likely headed to Minor League camp, and with starter Justin Duchscherer expected to begin the season on the disabled list, the team's Opening Day roster is starting to shape up.
Unofficially, the O's bullpen projects to be Kevin Gregg, Koji Uehara, Michael Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, Jeremy Accardo, Josh Rupe and Jason Berken.
A lot of what the Orioles still have to decide on depends on starter Brad Bergesen, who threw a bullpen session on Monday, and is scheduled to throw a couple innings on Wednesday to keep the Orioles' "options open" in terms of Sunday's start against Tampa Bay in the finale of the regular season's opening series. There is a chance Bergesen could make the team as a starter or an extra reliever, with the latter scenario meaning Chris Tillman would get the start.
The Orioles can go with four starters until April 10 by using their scheduled off-days, and they will make do until April 21, which is when Britton could come up and not be allotted a full year of service time. By keeping Britton in the Minors for at least 20 days, he will remain under team control for another full year, until 2017. The decision isn't financial -- the O's have no intention of leaving Britton in the Minors long enough to delay his arbitration years -- but they do want to keep the 23-year-old lefty from entering free agency a year early.
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Duchscherer, who threw two innings (30 pitches) in a simulated game on Monday, is also targeting a return on April 21.
Of Monday's cuts, Reimold was the most intriguing given his impressive spring. The outfielder batted .315 with three doubles, three homers, 10 RBIs and a .448 on-base percentage, outplaying the incumbent Felix Pie.
But Reimold has an option remaining -- Pie does not -- and the decision was also based on Pie -- who will be the team's fourth outfielder -- being able to back up center field. The organization would also like Reimold to get regular at-bats given that he had a difficult 2010 campaign, in which he hit .207 in 39 big league games, hampered by 2009 Achilles' heel surgery and off-the-field issues.
"He put a lot of the challenges he had last year behind him and put himself in a good spot to get back to the 2009 form that I had heard about," manager Buck Showalter said. "I know it's frustrating for him, but it was frustrating for us also to see all the struggles he went through last year ... but he's put the tough part behind him and I think he's got the best ahead of him. He'll be back."
Riske was told on Sunday he would not make the team and he left to tend to a personal issue. The Orioles aren't sure at this point if he will accept an assignment to Triple-A Norfolk, but they will give him a chance to see if he can get a big league job elsewhere first.
Hendrickson was also cut from the team and he has an out in his contract by Wednesday, so he could try to find a Major League job elsewhere. Winn was officially released and is free to try to find another big league job.
VandenHurk -- who is out of options -- was told he would not make the team, but he has to clear waivers before the team can decide its next move. Long shot rotation candidate Drese is expected to be a part of Triple-A Norfolk's rotation, while Rapada is also ticketed for Triple-A.
Green will join the two pitchers in Norfolk, while Egan -- a Rule 5 Draft pick who was returned from the Milwaukee Brewers -- was also optioned to Minor League camp.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.