Hyde updates Mountcastle and Hays before Angels series opener

ANAHEIM, Calif. – As the Orioles face lefty Reid Detmers (3-0, 1.19 ERA) in tonight’s series opener with the Angels, they will be a missing a couple of key right-handed bats.

At least to start the game.

First baseman Ryan Mountcastle is dealing with knee soreness and outfielder Austin Hays went on the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain this afternoon.

The Orioles were seeing some positive signs with Hays’ bat. He is just 5-for-45 for the year, but had some loud outs recently and produced two hits his last four at-bats.

But any further progress will have to wait.

Removed from the game Saturday night and held out Sunday, Hays’ IL stint is retroactive to yesterday. It’s an injury the club doesn’t feel will keep him out too long.

Catcher David Bañuelos, already here on the taxi squad, was added for today and outfielder Peyton Burdick was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Bañuelos. The 40-man roster is full.

Mountcastle is batting .324 for the year with an .888 OPS. He is 8-for-25 (.320) with a homer versus lefty pitching.

“He’s got a little bit of knee soreness,” said manager Brandon Hyde of Mountcastle, who was 4-for-11 with two doubles and two RBIs at Kansas City. “Just keeping him out precautionary. It swelled up on him a little bit after the game last night. He should be available off the bench.”

As for Hays, he goes to the IL for the first time since June 2021.

“That’s unfortunate. It’s a calf strain,” said Hyde. “We’re pretty confident he’s going to be back fairly soon after the IL stint. Just need for it to calm down a little bit and get some work in the training room to try to get that for him to be 100 percent.

“Little bit of a tough year for him so far. Unfortunate because I thought he was starting to swing the bat (better) you know his last couple of games he played. He’d be in there tonight. Injuries happen and hopefully it will be a little blip on a good season for him.

“David was here on taxi (squad). With one catcher playing, the other DHing, it’s nice to have a third catcher. So we added him to the roster today.”

Bañuelos had his contract selected Tuesday, went 0-for-1 in the game with Minnesota in his major league debut and was DFA'd the next day. With more time to get an outfielder here for Tuesday’s games, his stay on the roster could be brief again.

Westburg's award: O’s infielder Jordan Westburg today was named the American League Player of the Week, giving the O’s two straight winners after Colton Cowser was named last week. It’s the O’s first back-to-back such honors since Hall of Famer Eddie Murray won two weeks in a row in September 1981.

Westburg hit .478 (11-for-23) with two home runs, eight RBIs, two doubles, a triple, one walk, five runs scored, a stolen base and a .913 slugging percentage in six games last week. He led the majors in batting average and OPS (1.413) in that span.

“His all-around game. I’ve just been so impressed how he’s playing,” Hyde said. “Not only is he getting big hits and driving the ball out of the ballpark and a triple yesterday and things like that. But the defense in two positions, he’s played extremely well. His baserunning is really good. He runs the bases extremely hard. He’s smart and fast. Really fast for as physical and how big he is. He’s just done a little of everything so far this year and a well deserved honor.”

For the season, Westburg is batting .333 with an OPS of 1.031. Over 18 games, he has five doubles, a triple, five homers and 18 RBIs. Tonight he is batting third for the Orioles.

"To win back-to-back with Colton is really cool," said Westburg. "It’s nice, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. I’m just really focused on trying to help the team. Come in here and play good baseball.

“I’ve just been trusting my process. Really trying to focus on the daily grind and not so much the results, whether they are good or bad. Just trying to learn from what happens. Learn from it and come in the next day with a positive mindset and go-get-‘em attitude and trying to play gritty baseball."

Westburg, who had a .715 OPS in 2023, had three big league homers in 228 plate appearances last year. Now has five in 80. Did he expect the power he has shown throughout his minor league career would eventually come in the bigs as it has?

He said he didn't expect any certain result, but added that his power and the power of other young players like Cowser was seen on the farm and is something the players learned and developed on the O's farm.

"As soon as you get drafted, positive swing decisions (is preached), swing at the right pitches," said Westburg. "Hitting the ball at good angles like your five- to 30-degree launch angles, balls that are on a line. They have a chance to leave the yard. And hitting it hard, finding the barrel. Those are the three disciplines I guess as a hitting group that you kind of know as soon as you join the organization.

"Working on those in minors and getting up here and learning and failing and then having success, it's a process. But it's a good one and one that we focus on."

O's game blog: The series opener in Anaheim
Hays placed on IL with calf strain (updated)

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