O's cut down roster; Clevenger likely the backup
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles made a trio of cuts on Wednesday, optioning pitcher Suk-min Yoon and catcher Johnny Monell to Minor League camp and reassigning outfielder Xavier Paul to trim the spring roster to 43.
The Monell moves leaves Steve Clevenger as the leading in-house candidate to back up Matt Wieters, although manager Buck Showalter certainly left open the possibility that the club make a move externally. Showalter said there have been some things that have presented themselves over the past 10 days on that front.
"Stevie's done a nice job down here," Showalter said. "So has John. I thought he really came on as a catcher the past seven or eight days. Hopefully he can carry that on. He's got a chance to hit. I thought his catching skills have really improved since he got here."
Monell played in 11 games, batting .278 (5-for-18) with a homer and six RBIs, while Clevenger has gone 12-for-22, also with a homer and six RBIs, in eight spring games.
"I feel very comfortable with what I've done," Clevenger said. "... The main thing is catching. They made it a starting point from the beginning, it was going to be the catching that determined the job, and I feel like my catching has been up to par so far in Spring Training."
Clevenger's locker is right next to the already-cleaned-out previous home of Monell's, but he won't take it easy the rest of camp.
"I'm going to go out there and show [Showalter], basically until my name is announced on Opening Day, that's when I'll be on the team," Clevenger said.
The Yoon move is to allow the right-hander to be stretched out more, and there won't be that many innings left in camp, given that the starters need to keep working deeper. Yoon went two innings in Wednesday's loss -- surrendering a solo homer -- and said he got the sense he will be a starter for Triple-A Norfolk.
"I've thought about it, but I really wasn't expecting it," Yoon said, through interpreter Justin Yoo, about being optioned. "I actually feel good right now. I want to maintain where I'm at."
Yoon was limited by visa issues that delayed his first outing and forced him to leave camp for a couple days to go to Canada.
"He's not going to start with us, but we think he has a chance to be with us at some point," Showalter said. "I think he said it the other day and in talking to him, he needs to go down there and pitch innings. They are starting to go away."
Paul played in 15 games, going 6-for-28 with a double and five RBIs in a crowded outfield camp.