The Orioles latest roster move today brings infielder Ramón Urías back to the team, activated from the 10-day injured list while Richie Martin was optioned back to Triple-A. Urías has not played since June 9 or batted since June 7, out with a strained left oblique.
In 49 games and 188 at-bats this year he was hitting .225/.273/.387/.660 with six homers and 18 RBIs. Urías played in two rehab games over the weekend with Double-A Bowie, going 0-for-7 with one walk and three strikeouts.
“He felt great last night,” manager Brandon Hyde said during his pregame press conference. “Nice to see him back. Feels healthy, he’s ready to go. Get a day off today, available off the bench, but nice to see him back.”
As for Urías he said, “I feel good and feel like I’m ready.” But he added there was some apprehension taking swings in his first game at Bowie on Saturday.
“The first day not really, I felt like a little scared,” he said this morning in the Baltimore clubhouse. “Afraid to swing. But the second game I had a more confident swing and everything feels good. But like I say I feel ready now. Never had an oblique injury before and maybe I was feeling a little tight, but no pain at all, so that’s good. Throwing is just fine, it never bothered me to throw the baseball.”
Urías said missing games was a real challenge.
“It was frustrating. I even thought it was going to take me less time than I had to. But just kept working,” he said.
O’s outfielder Austin Hays went just 1-for-12 in Minnesota and is 3-for-28 (.107) over his past seven games. He was dropped to sixth in the lineup today and is playing in left field in the series opener versus Texas.
“It was nothing to do about Austin. It’s more of just, want to get Mounty (Ryan Mountcastle, who is batting fourth) up there in the order a bit against the starter and probably playing with the lineups here from a matchup standpoint," said Hyde.
The Orioles have scored just 11 runs on 27 hits over their past five games, going 3-for-31 with runners in scoring position in that span.
On Sunday the O’s played a Minnesota team that was last in the American League with 13 stolen bases. Today they begin a series against a Rangers team that leads the AL with 63 steals (in 82 tries). With the 63 stolen bases, Texas is tied with Miami for the MLB team lead.
“It’s an aggressive team, it’s an athletic team,” said Hyde. “I think that is one thing we have done extremely well is take care of the running game and opportunities for others teams, extra bases. It is something we have put a high emphasis on and something we will have to be really careful with and control this series. They can really run. Something our pitchers, catchers and infielders have to be aware of.”
Hyde was asked about Dillon Tate’s strong ninth inning Sunday at Minnesota, a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.
“Tate has such great stuff and has so much movement to his fastball. His fastball velocity really varies. Some nights he’s out there 93, 94 and some nights at 98. Kind of don’t know. But the slider has been a huge improvement. Struck out (Gary) Sánchez with it. Threw a couple really good sliders there that last at-bat. For me Dillon gets in trouble when he gets himself in trouble. Because he is tough to hit and square up. It’s about the hit by pitches or the walks. When he started the first batter 2-0, I was really hoping he’d come back and he did. Maybe before, that inning would have gotten away from him. First hitter was so important and that was the game right there for me," Hyde said.
Meanwhile, Hyde has noted that lefty Bruce Zimmermann has put together some nice outings at Triple-A Norfolk. He did give up three runs in the first inning yesterday versus Gwinnett, but then nothing else through the seventh inning. He allowed three runs and eight hits over seven frames on 93 pitches, and allowed one run in six innings the start before that and is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA through three games with the Tides.
But Hyde is not quite ready to bring the lefty back to the Baltimore rotation yet.
“I’d like Zimm to pitch down there a little bit. Don’t just rush a guy back here because he a good appearance or two down there. For me, Zimm had some things to work on. That doesn’t mean he can’t be back in a couple of weeks, anything can happen up here. But I think a good scenario for Zimm is get some starts down there, which he’s had a couple which is great, and love how he threw the ball yesterday. Hopefully he can keep that going and come back here at some point," Hyde said.