HOUSTON – The Orioles couldn’t wait any longer on Ryan Mountcastle.
The latest attempt to hit in the cage this morning didn’t show any improvement in his shoulder, and Mountcastle is going on the 10-day injured list with left AC joint inflammation.
Outfielder Ryan McKenna is flying to Houston as the corresponding roster move. He will be on the bench this afternoon.
Mountcastle was injured after fouling off a pitch in the first inning of last Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals at Camden Yards. He was removed in the third.
The move can be backdated three days, making Mountcastle eligible to return on Sept. 27 in Baltimore.
“Tried to swing today, didn’t go as well as we were hoping,” said manager Brandon Hyde.
“It’s not a setback. He was going really well in his progression and he’s feeling better. He tried to swing the other day, it was a little bit sore. We were hoping this session today was going to be an improvement from that last one and it just wasn’t, and so we’re going to backdate it a few days and try to get him ready.
“Hopefully, he’s going to be ready as soon as his IL date’s up.”
Mountcastle missed a month of the season due to bouts of vertigo, returning to the club on July 9 after a rehab assignment. He’s batting .324/.403/.494 in 50 games in the second half, with eight doubles, seven home runs and 27 RBIs.
Overall, Mountcastle is slashing .269/.325/.453 in 111 games with 20 doubles, a triple, 18 home runs and 67 RBIs. He’s hitting .340 with a 1.056 OPS against left-handers.
He hasn’t been at his locker during media access at Minute Maid Park.
“He’s really down about it,” Hyde said. “It’s disappointing for him. He was hoping he’d be back in a few days and the treatment and everything he’s getting, and how hard he’s working to get back, disappointed that it wasn’t feeling very good in his batting practice today in the cage.”
Anthony Santander has been working out at first base the last few days to provide an alternative. Ryan O’Hearn is making his 53rd start today, including seven in a row after Mountcastle's injury. Ramón Urías and backup catcher James McCann also are options.
Heston Kjerstad made 37 starts at first base in the minors but is viewed as a better fielder in right.
The Orioles optioned McKenna on Thursday while selecting Kjerstad's contract, and he missed Sunday's playoff clinching celebration. He was 10-for-55 with with two doubles, a triple and three home runs in 15 games with the Tides.
The bullpen is shorthanded today with 17 relievers used in the last three games. Yennier Cano and Cionel Pérez have appeared in all three.
DL Hall threw 18 pitches last night, putting his availability in question.
Moving Jack Flaherty to the ‘pen and going with a five-man rotation added an extra reliever, but Hyde needs a lengthy start from Kyle Bradish.
“I’ll take it,” Hyde said. “We could use it.”
Flaherty worked two innings last night in his fifth career relief appearance and is down today.
“He’s going to stay in the bullpen as of right now,” Hyde said. “Impressed with how he threw yesterday. For me, he won us the game.”