Hyde pregame on Kjerstad, Mountcastle, Bradish and more (plus Kjerstad quotes)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Outfielder Heston Kjerstad, officially activated earlier today, is in tonight’s starting lineup for the Orioles batting eighth in right field. 

Ryan Mountcastle, who missed last night’s game with a sore left knee, could be back in that lineup very soon.

“Ryan is way better today,” manager Brandon Hyde said this afternoon in the visiting dugout. “He will definitely be available if we need him.”

As for Kjerstad, who is ranked as the No. 29 prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 42 via Baseball America, he was tearing it up in 21 games with Triple-A Norfolk. He was batting .349/.431/.744/1.175 with four doubles, 10 homers and 30 RBIs. He went 8-for-16 his last four Tides games with three homers.

“Off to an unbelievable start in Triple-A. Huge power numbers,” said Hyde. “Hitting the ball hard to all fields. Just want him to come up here and try and contribute. We have a good lineup, but Heston has big-time power, so hopefully he can impact us offensively."

Hyde is not committing to specific playing time for Kjerstad, saying they are “trying to find place for everybody.”

I asked Hyde if Kjerstad is here filling in for an injured player or could his stay here be more permanent this time in the bigs.

“Yeah, don’t know. We’ll see," Hyde said. "I can’t answer that, I have no idea. I think we’re going to try and give him some starts when I can and hopefully he takes advantage of them like Colton Cowser did and we’ll go from there.”

Hyde was asked today about all the homegrown prospects in tonight's lineup. And generically about the club's overall strong farm.

"They love the game and they love to play," he said. "I'm enjoying watching them play. They play fast, they compete, they don't seem like it's too much. ... But the jump between Triple-A pitching and the big leagues – there is no bigger jump in the sport. It's not even close to the same game. A totally different game and you can go through struggles early. 

"Definitely for sure, there is a lot of pride in our organization right now with the prospects that are here and it's going to be fun to watch them all play today."

Hyde is quite upbeat about right-hander Kyle Bradish’s first two injury rehab games, one for Double-A Bowie and one for Triple-A Norfolk.

“Really encouraged by it," he said. "Hopefully he will throw more this next time. So far everything has gone really well. You’d prefer him to have five innings in the 80-pitch range before we schedule a start for him up here. But he’s definitely on track for that."

Hyde said Tyler Wells, on the 15-day injured list since April 16 with right elbow inflammation, will begin throwing again in the next few days.  

At Norfolk tonight: Lefty John Means tonight for Norfolk went 4 1/3 innings with seven hits, three runs, one walk and five strikeouts on 79 pitches. Per Statcast, he got 11 whiffs on 43 swings and hist fastball averaged 90.3 mph, topping at 92.2.

Since Means’ first rehab game was March 31, his 30-day rehab stint is getting close to ending in about a week or so.

Kjerstad’s take: Kjerstad had quite the travel day Monday. He flew home with the Tides from Jacksonville, where manager Buck Britton told him he would be catching another flight (actually two with a connection) to get to Los Angeles. But he finally arrived last night for his second stint in the big leagues.

After not making the team in spring training, Kjerstad had some extra motivation to try and get back to the Orioles.

“For me, I’m always motivated to perform to the best of my abilities," he said. "To have the start I did, that’s everything you hope for, you train for going into the offseason. A lot of things that I have been working for and working on and there are still things to iron out and improve on.”

He is very comfortable in the O’s clubhouse around so many players he has already played with. What did he learn from his first go around in the bigs?

“For me, it’s the same game we’ve always played," he said. "Just show up and compete every day. Compete every pitch and just do anything you can do to help the team win."

Kjerstad was asked about being patient and waiting for his next big league chance.

“That’s part of the game," he said. "You have to wait your turn. Also it’s part of your journey. You want everything ASAP. But that’s not life. You have to be patient and when your time comes, be ready for it.”

O's game blog: Looking for another victory in Anah...
Kjerstad in right field tonight in Orioles' homegr...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/