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Three players optioned in second round of cuts

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Orioles optioned right-handed pitcher Zach Clark, lefty Mike Belfiore and outfielder Xavier Avery to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Monday's game, trimming the Major League Spring Training roster to 53 in the process.

"'X' needs some consistent at-bats to get to where he needs to get," manager Buck Showalter said of Avery, who hit .182 (2-for-12) with two RBIs in 12 games. "He got a little out of whack.

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"I think in his mind he's coming in here like every at-bat was like the World Series. I think what will happen is, two or three games down there he will get back in step, relax a little bit. He had a little anxiety, I think. But, pretty excited about his future. We might bring him back, but only if I can play him."

Clark and Belfiore, who were both added to the 40-man roster this winter, will also come over from Minor League camp to pitch for the Orioles again this spring -- likely Thursday -- although they have officially been cut. Clark, 29, went 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in five spring games (seven innings), while Belfiore went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four games (7 1/3 innings).

"He pitched well the last couple times out, we are very excited to have him," Showalter said of Belfiore, who the organization hasn't decided whether to stretch out as a starter yet. "He really likes the mentality of potentially being able to pitch every day. Him and Clark presented themselves well. If we had more innings, we would have kept them."

Clark, who moved up to Triple-A last year, will be a starter and will get stretched out at Twin Lakes Park to do so. Monday's moves were the second round of cuts, with more coming "Thursday-ish," according to Showalter.

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.

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