Hays back in Orioles lineup, Hall returns to majors, and more

DETROIT – Orioles outfielder Austin Hays swung the bat yesterday and said he would have been a game-time decision if rain hadn’t forced a postponement.

“I don’t think I would have been able to be in there,” he said.

He’s in there today, leading off in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Tigers.

The right middle finger is badly bruised after Hays was hit on the hand by Corey Kluber’s sinker Tuesday night while trying to bunt.

“We’ll just make sure we wrap it up good and make sure it’s protected and be good to go,” he said.

“It was just kind of bad luck where I’m going for a hit on the third base side, so I’m starting to lean out over the plate and he just threw me a really nasty sinker. If it was a lower pitch it probably would have been fine, but it was at the top of the zone running in off the plate and I was leaning over, and it just ran down off the bat. I don’t think it would have mattered how I had my hand on the bat. It whiffed the bat completely and drilled the hand there, so bad luck on the pitch location when I decided to bunt.

“Just one of those baseball things that happens that I don’t really think there’s a way to avoid it. Just bad luck on the pitch location there.”

Manager Brandon Hyde moved Hays to the top of the order again with the opposition starting a left-hander, in this case former Orioles minor leaguer Eduardo Rodriguez.

“He swung the bat in the cage yesterday and the finger feels a lot better,” Hyde said. “Another day kind of helped him out a little bit. Swung this morning, feels good, also. It’s a bruised finger, so it’s going to be uncomfortable. He’s a really tough guy and played through a bunch of things last year. Now, he’s going to be playing through this. But when your fingers are bruised, this is a tough game to play, but he feels good enough to go out there.

“He said swinging the bat feels good. It’s just going to be covered for a little while.”

Adley Rutschman is on the bench for Game 1, the first time this season that he hasn’t been in the lineup.

Maybe he only plays 161 this season.

“He might be in this one,” Hyde said. “You never know.”

The Orioles called up left-hander DL Hall today as the 27th man.

“Hopefully, we get him into the game,” Hyde said. “We’re going to try to win these two games, and excited to have DL here as some bullpen depth for us. Our guys have thrown a lot of innings so far, and DL provides some depth for us in the bullpen.”

Hall has posted a 4.41 ERA and 1.469 WHIP in four outings with Triple-A Norfolk. He’s allowed eight runs and 15 hits with nine walks and 20 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings.

“I feel like it’s kind of been some good moments and some bad moments,” he said. “Just part of getting back in the swing of things. I feel like it’s kind of been a rollercoaster, but I’m getting to a point now where I feel more consistent in just my delivery and things like that, so I’m excited to see the results to come.

“Just kind of finding that early-season tempo and rhythm and things like that. I feel like finally getting stretched out and getting built through those five innings and up to 90 pitches was kind of my biggest concern, literally, until my last start. I told my dad just trying to get built out and not really worried about results, and now I feel like it’s time to go and I look forward to competing.”

The Orioles view Hall as a starter and didn’t want to put him back in a relief role breaking camp. The idea was to stretch him out with the Tides. But he’s in the bullpen today on a temporary assignment.

“Kind of like I’ve said the whole time, I’m just here to help the team in whatever way they need me,” he said. “As long as I’m out there on the field, I don’t really care.”

Hall made his major league debut last August with a start at Tropicana Field and was optioned afterward, transitioning to relief in order to aid the playoff push in September, and he’s one-and-done again today as the 27th man. Just for a different reason.

“It’s not ideal, I guess you’d say, but I’m here to help, so whatever they need,” he said.

“We’re trying to win games,” Hyde said, “and we feel like DL’s a great option for us to use him in numerous roles for today.”

Ramón Urías is starting at third base and batting third for the only time in his major league career.

“Mainly because Adley’s not in there and that kind of just moves some guys around a little bit,” Hyde said. “Just more matchup-based.”

The Orioles are facing Rodriguez today after he didn’t allow a baserunner Sunday at Camden Yards for 6 2/3 innings. Perhaps getting another opportunity this quickly benefits them.

Or it means nothing.

“I don’t feel like we’ve swung the bat very well against him in, like, four-plus years here,” Hyde said. “Maybe this will help us out. I have no idea. I’m hoping he leaves some balls in the middle part of the plate.”

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