NEW YORK – Austin Hays is participating in full baseball activities today and is confident that he’ll return to the Orioles’ lineup this weekend in Minnesota.
Hays hasn’t played since bruising his left hip Sunday against the Twins at Camden Yards.
“I’m feeling a lot better today,” he said. “I’m going to go out there for BP and try to go through some throwing from the outfield, take some swings, and see where we’re at. But as far as just moving around and doing day to day stuff, it feels a lot better. A lot of that bad soreness that I had has pushed out of there.”
The day began with Hays learning about his All-Star selection and progressed to a collision with Twins first baseman Donovan Solano in the second inning, leading to removal before the top of the fourth.
Third baseman José Miranda’s throw led Solano into the basepath and Hays turned at the last instant to lessen the impact. He probably made it worse, but his instincts took over.
“I knew I swallowed that knee pretty hard there. I tried to play through it and I felt like I wasn’t really any use to anybody out there,” Hays said.
“Sitting in there, I was like, ‘Well, the good news was kind of short lived. I really don’t know where we’re going to be now.’ But all the scans came back clean, so I dodged a bullet. I think if it had been higher and hit me in the ribs, it would have been serious. Not a great spot, but it could have been a lot worse. Could have been worse news to get, but I definitely would have liked to not have this happen right the day I found out.”
Hays has suffered some quirky injuries in his career dating back to the minors. The collision had him wondering if he was a victim again.
“Yeah, it’s just another one of those plays where I’m running hard down the line,” he said. “I know Miranda had struggled a little bit defensively, so I wanted to try to put some pressure on him, and it was a tough throw into the line. There’s really nothing that Solano can do there. He’s just trying to knock the ball down. Just one of those plays. I don’t think there’s any way to avoid it.
“If you see the first baseman leave his feet, you go low. I just didn’t have enough time. By the time I saw him jumping, really, no way to get out of the way of that collision. Just bad luck, nothing I feel like I could have done differently to avoid it.”
Hays won’t miss his first All-Star Game. He intends to represent the American League Tuesday night in Seattle.
“I plan on playing before the All-Star Game,” he said. “Just got to check a couple things off the box, but I think we’ll be in a good place.”
“He’s getting better every day,” said manager Brandon Hyde.
Colton Cowser made his major league debut last night in left field. Don’t get too comfortable, kid.
“He looked pretty comfortable yesterday,” Hays said, laughing. “I’m happy that he’s here. He played a great game for us yesterday. He came up big. I’m glad he’s here.”
Cowser was supposed to play left again tonight, but he’s moved to center with Aaron Hicks scratched from the lineup. Adam Frazier is starting in left.
The Orioles haven’t provided an explanation.
Cedric Mullins remains the designated hitter rather than switching to center.
For the Orioles
Gunnar Henderson SS
Adley Rutschman C
Anthony Santander RF
Ryan O’Hearn 1B
Cedric Mullins DH
Colton Cowser CF
Jordan Westburg 2B
Adam Frazier LF
Ramón Urías 3B
Kyle Bradish RHP
Ryan Mountcastle remains on his injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk. He's playing first base tonight. Ryan McKenna is playing center field.
The Orioles traded pitcher Chris Vallimont to the Guardians for cash considerations and optioned him to Triple-A Columbus. The Orioles designated Vallimont for assignment yesterday.
Henderson contacted YES Network cameraman Pete Stendel today to check on his condition. Henderson’s throw last night while trying to turn a double play in the fifth inning struck Stendel in the head and caused an orbital fracture.
Stendel is home.
“We give him our best and hope he has a speedy recovery,” Hyde said. “It was unbelievably scary last night and tough to watch. The hush of the crowd for a while kind of said it all, what was happening, how serious it was. It was scary. To hear that he’s doing much better today … and it’s nice that (Aaron Boone) and Gunnar reached out to him. I hope that he has a speedy recovery.”