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03/26/10 7:13 PM ET

Sarfate, Bell, Snyder cut by Orioles

Reliever heads to Minors camp; prospects going to Triple-A

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles trimmed nine players from their roster prior to Friday night's game vs. the Twins, including top position prospects Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder, along with right-handed pitcher Dennis Sarfate.

Bell, Snyder, Rhyne Hughes and Michael Aubrey were optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, while shortstop Pedro Florimon was assigned to Double-A Bowie. Sarfate, Frank Mata, Josh Perrault and Jonathan Tucker returned to Minor League camp.

The move leaves the Orioles with 37 players left in camp, with this year's deadline for completed 25-man rosters due on 3 p.m. ET on April 4.

Baltimore manager Dave Trembley praised Snyder for being the most improved player in camp from last year, and he said he was pleased with Bell and Snyder's spring performances.

"I think Snyder is close to being ready to play at the Major League level," Trembley said. "Bell has a tool you can't teach -- power from both sides of the plate. He needs some experience at Triple-A. I'm impressed with both guys."

Snyder was 6-for-18 with one home run and three RBIs in 13 games. He also played some impressive defense at first base, and said he was good with the move because he knows where he stands in the organization.

"You go in [to camp] looking to win a job, whether you're the last person who had that job or you're fighting for the job," Snyder said. "And I feel like if you do that and put your best foot forward, then it shows up on the field. You don't leave anything behind, and I feel like that's what I did.

"I understand my place right now, and I understand my place in the organization right now. It might not necessarily be where I want to be, but again, I'm going to keep putting in the work so that I can be where I want to be."

In 17 games, Bell went 7-for-31, including a homer from both sides of the plate in the team's Grapefruit League opener. But the 23-year-old third baseman struggled defensively and showed his inexperience.

Trembley noted Bell's strong arm and said the goal will be for him to be a "little smoother" at third.

"[He needs] a little more rhythm, experience on positioning," Trembley said. "We're glad to have him."

Bell, who has never played higher than Double-A, will continue to progress and open the season with Norfolk.

Sarfate was thought to be in the bullpen competition, but he struggled in his appearances this spring. The right-hander pitched his way to a 4.50 ERA over six spring innings and will likely open the season at Triple-A.

Trembley said there was no thought to keeping Sarfate in camp longer, and with his exit, the final two right-handed spots in the Orioles' 'pen figure to be between Cla Meredith, Matt Albers and Kam Mickolio. However, all three players could make the team's Opening Day roster if Koji Uehara doesn't start the season healthy. Uehara is day-to-day with a strained left hamstring and has no timetable in place for when he will return to the mound.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.