Austin Hays maintains his day-to-day status as he recovers from soreness in his side, a cautious approach to prevent a serious oblique injury.
Hays was scheduled to take more swings in the cage this morning after hitting, running and throwing yesterday afternoon. He said he’s “trending in the right direction.” No problems with the increased activity.
The lineup hasn’t included Hays for the last four games, with the Orioles winning all of them to run their streak to five in a row.
“Feeling better today. He’s getting a little better every day,” said manager Brandon Hyde.
“Available off the bench, maybe. Not sure about that yet. But hopefully in the next day or two we can get him in the lineup.”
Today’s version includes Brett Phillips in left field again, but also Terrin Vavra making his first major league start at second base and Rougned Odor playing third for the first time in 2022.
“Just trying to get the lefties in there as much as possible,” Hyde said. “I just like moving Vavra up against (Bryse) Wilson. Just really like the way he’s managing an at-bat right now, and the way he’s getting on base.
“To have Ced (Cedric Mullins), Rutsch (Adley Rutschman) and Vav getting on base as much as possible, it’s going to, hopefully, lead to some runs. Phillips is a left-handed bat. You saw (Ryan) McKenna pinch-hit for him last night. Never really had this many left-handers, which, it’s been nice.”
Vavra is 7-for-15 during his five-game hitting streak and has a .522 on-base percentage in 23 plate appearances since the Orioles recalled him. He found out last night, with the early posting of the lineup, that he’d start at second base.
“Ready to go today,” he said. “It’s an opportunity. At this point I’m just looking for opportunities and skip’s confident enough to put me there. It’s an opportunity I want and am excited for. But it’s more of the same. I’m just trying, every time I’m up to the plate, do the job, get on base, drive in a run. Whatever I can do to help us keep going.”
Odor hadn’t played third base until making 29 starts and 33 appearances last season with the Yankees. He didn’t enjoy the experience.
The clue came in spring training after the following exchange with a member of the media:
“How was that?”
Odor wants to stay in the lineup, and moving to third is an acceptable compromise.
“Terrin’s mostly second and some outfield, and Roogie’s played third base quite a bit last year in New York, and we saw it a lot,” Hyde said. “Just trying to get as many left-handed bats in the lineup as possible. With Rutsch DHing, it’s trying to find a spot for both those guys in the lineup. That’s all it is.”
Odor was “very professional,” Hyde said. “Wants to do anything he can to help the team. That’s what came out of his mouth. I really appreciated it, and he’s been a team guy since he got here. It’s not his most natural position, but want to see his bat in there.”
Anthony Santander keeps taking ground balls at first base in batting practice and could make some appearances in the infield as the season winds down.
“I think it’s possible down the road, yeah,” Hyde said.
“I think the more positions you can play for your own personal career, the better it is. And so for Tony to be able to play first base, I think that’s something he could possibly do down the road. It’s very, very natural. He’s done in in the minors. He did it with Cleveland in the minor leagues, so it’s not something that’s brand new to him. It’s just a little bit of a refresher right now, but we’d like to keep that as an option.”
For the Pirates
Kevin Newman 2B
Bryan Reynolds CF
Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B
Oneil Cruz SS
Michael Chavis 1B
Bligh Madris RF
Greg Allen LF
Cal Mitchell DH
José Godoy C
Bryse Wilson RHP
Here are the starters for the Blue Jays series at Camden Yards:
Monday: Jordan Lyles vs. Yusei Kikuchi
Tuesday: Kyle Bradish vs. Alek Manoa
Wednesday: Dean Kremer vs. José Berríos