Orioles manager Brandon Hyde called the decision by outfielder Anthony Santander and reliever Keegan Akin to get vaccinated “a personal choice by them.”
There were no meetings between the club and players. No mentions of the competitive disadvantage with Santander and Akin unable to enter Canada based on its COVID-19 regulations.
They missed the series against the Blue Jays in June, weren’t paid and didn’t receive service time.
“I didn’t talk to them about where we are standings-wise or anything like that,” Hyde said. “That was something that we had talked about in the past. I was happy to hear that. But like I said, that’s a choice by those two guys and I’m proud of our club for being fully vaccinated.”
The Orioles return to Toronto on Aug. 15-17. They called up outfielder Kyle Stowers and reliever Rico Garcia for the last visit to Rogers Centre.
Garcia was optioned yesterday, and the Orioles recalled Nick Vespi from Triple-A Norfolk this morning to give them an extra left-hander against a Rays’ lineup that is “so left-handed dominant,” Hyde said.
“And Akin being down for at least a couple days, we felt like it was important to get a left-handed bullpen arm,” Hyde said.
“Nick has been throwing the ball well in Triple-A, hasn’t given up a run (earned) all year in Norfolk. So, happy to have him back.”
Trey Mancini is hitless in his last 22 at-bats and receiving a mental break today. He’s out of the lineup.
Mancini is bracing for a trade at the Aug. 2 deadline and soaking in everything around him in what could be his final series as an Oriole at Camden Yards. An admission by Mancini that seemed to surprise Hyde when a media member relayed it to him.
“I haven’t talked to Trey at all about that, to be honest with you,” Hyde said. “He’s been pressing a little bit lately. That’s why he’s not playing today. I just wanted to give him a break, just because I felt like he was pressing during the Yankees series. He didn’t really have an All-Star break because he flew to (Los Angeles) for the ESPYS. We talked about that, but I didn’t talk to him about his current situation.
“I think he’s doing everything he can to help out our club, and right now I just feel like he’s pressing at the plate a little bit."
Mancini’s competitive nature became recognizable to Hyde during their first spring training together in 2019.
“Early on, him getting upset after an at-bat,” Hyde said. “I couldn’t believe somebody was that angry because it was a spring training game in March. But that’s just who he is. He’s a perfectionist. He’s a really good baseball player who feels he should do well, and when he has his struggles, he puts a lot upon himself and takes it extremely hard.
“It’s something we talked about, honestly, a couple days ago. Enjoy this, this is a fun team, and I think he’s doing that. I think he’s really enjoyed this clubhouse. He’s had a fun season so far. I know that he’s not putting up the numbers right now that he wants to, but he’s a grinder and he works his tail off, and hopefully this break today can let him breathe a little bit and spring him to finish the season strong.”
Whether it’s for the Orioles or another team.
For the Rays
Yandy Díaz 3B
Brandon Lowe 2B
Randy Arozarena LF
Ji-Man Choi 1B
Luke Raley DH
Taylor Walls SS
Josh Lowe RF
Francisco Mejía C
Brett Phillips CF
Corey Kluber RHP
The third undrafted free agent signed by the Orioles is UNLV right-hander Hayden Nierman, 22, who posted a 4.72 ERA this year with 13 walks and 34 strikeouts in 23 appearances covering 40 innings.
The signing occurred last week.
Nierman transferred from Oakland University in Michigan.