ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - With Mark Trumbo likely to be out at least another three days after receiving a cortisone injection in his right knee, the Orioles are expected to place him on the disabled list following tonight’s game against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
A decision will be made whether to call up a pitcher or position player. There could be multiple moves if the Orioles option starter David Hess, though they’d prefer to hold onto him.
Manager Buck Showalter is playing with a short bench again tonight while Trumbo remains unavailable.
Trumbo is batting .309/.317/.469 in 20 games after opening the season on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps muscle. He went 4-for-4 with two doubles Tuesday night in Chicago and appeared to aggravate the knee while sliding into second base. The Orioles scheduled an MRI for him this morning.
“Found out what we were hoping, so it’s kind of good,” Showalter said. “I think it relieves a lot of the anxiety he might have over structurally. That’s in good shape. He’s going to get whatever fluid’s there drained off and I think a cortisone injection. So is Darren (O’Day), so that will be three days on both of them.
“I think we’re leaning toward a DL for Mark after the game and kind of wait and see whether we’re going to need to get a pitcher or position player here.”
Trumbo said the MRI revealed some “fairly advanced” arthritis in the knee and chondromalacia, which isn’t a Paul Simon song. It’s also known as “runner’s knee,” a condition where the cartilage on the undersurface of the patella deteriorates and softens.
“It shows some pretty decent wear and tear,” Trumbo said, “but the good news is all the ligaments and everything are intact.”
Trumbo confirmed that he’ll have the knee drained and get the injection. He was targeting a return within a few days, but that’s not likely to happen.
“It’s kind of something I thought just years of wear and tear,” he said. “I think maybe the slide into second the other day kind of jarred something and caused some inflammation. But the good news is the meniscus and all those things look good, so I guess positive news on that regard.”
The knee discomfort was manageable prior to the slide.
“It’s not the end of the world usually,” he said. “It can be annoying. Some days are worse than others, but some of that stuff, once it’s gone it’s gone. I guess that’s kind of the tradeoff doing what we do. Some of the health stuff, that’s going to take its toll and that’s kind of what’s going on.”
With the Rays starting reliever Sergio Romo for one inning, Showalter would have tweaked his lineup tonight if he had a full bench.
“I was going to do a little something with the batting order, but decided against it because it would really cramp some things,” Showalter said.
“Don’t hold me to it, but I think that’s (DL) where we’re headed.”
The timing really stings with Trumbo swinging a hot bat. He hit his second home run Monday night against the White Sox and is 8-for-22 in his last five games.
“I thought yesterday there was a certain rally around it,” Showalter said. “Everything that was going on yesterday, it was a really proud response our guys had. And that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve always been a team the last few years that, OK, one guy down, who’s next and who’s going to help? I can go back through some playoff scenarios where Manny (Machado) wasn’t playing or (Ryan) Flaherty was playing third and Steve Pearce was playing first instead of Chris. That’s what you’ve got to do.
“It’s more challenging when you’ve got multiple guys down, but I look at it like this: Darren’s close, Zach (Britton) is getting real close, Mark shouldn’t be a very long injury. It’s a half-full thing for me.”
With their outfield heavy in right-handed hitters, the Orioles could add a left-handed bat to replace Trumbo.
“In a perfect world,” Showalter said.
Otherwise, they could fortify their bullpen and stick with a three-man bench. But they seem more inclined to summon a hitter.
“Dan (Duquette) and I talked about it a couple times today and we’re positioned to go either way, just depending on what the game dictates tonight,” Showalter said. “If we had some off-days coming at some point it would be a little different, but we don’t.”
Britton will throw a two-inning simulated game before Saturday afternoon’s game, with two hitters and four infielders arriving from extended spring training.
“They’ve got enough players over there, trust me, to let six come over,” Showalter said.
Chris Tillman will throw off a flat mound Sunday down in Sarasota and maybe progress to a regular mound by Wednesday.
The Rays made two trades today and are forced to change their lineup. They sent center fielder Denard Span and reliever Alex Colomé to the Mariners for right-handed pitching prospects Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero, and minor league pitcher Peter Bayer to the Athletics for pitcher Wilmer Font.
For the Rays
Brad Miller 1B
C.J. Cron DH
Joey Wendle 2B
Wilson Ramos C
Matt Duffy 3B
Mallex Smith CF
Daniel Robertson SS
Johnny Field RF
Rob Refsnyder LF
Sergio Romo RHP
Update: Danny Valencia’s double with two outs in the first inning scored Adam Jones and gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Jones singled and Jonathan Schoop reached on a wild pitch while striking out to extend the inning against Sergio Romo, who was replaced after Valencia’s double.
Update II: Schoop homered to left-center field in the sixth, the ball traveling an estimated 442 feet, to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.