FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Orioles reassigned outfielder Lew Ford to minor league camp on Tuesday. That leaves them with 38 players including nine non-roster invitees.
Last season, Ford returned to the major leagues after an absence of nearly five years, and batted .183 in 25 games.
With Wilson Betemit being lost for at least six-eight weeks with a PCL tear, it opens a spot for a designated hitter. Betemit was in line to be the Orioles DH against right-handed pitching.
Betemit is a switch hitter, and can play the corner infield positions and occasionally filled in in the outfield.
There are several candidates to replace Betemit. Chris Dickerson, Conor Jackson and Steve Pearce are possibilities. Jackson and Pearce have an edge because they can play first base, too. Dickerson is a switch-hitter, and that may help.
“Obviously, some of the dynamics of it changed yesterday. There are so many moving parts right now with the balls in the air,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Ford was batting .405 with two home runs and six RBIs. He’ll join some of those already sent down and some still here to battle for joins at Norfolk.
“One more spot was created in Norfolk now because someone won’t go down there now,” Showalter said.
It’s possible some of the outfielders will have to play at Bowie, and Showalter thinks that Ford, wherever he is, can contribute to the team as he did late last season when he made the postseason roster.
“Lew’s got a chance to help us,” Showalter said.
On Monday, the Orioles sent Russ Canzler to Norfolk, but Showalter said that he’s not an immediate candidate to help the team though he plays the corner infield positions and outfield.