This, that and the other

Austin Hays grabbed his spikes yesterday and walked out of the Orioles’ clubhouse. He had another box to check.

Hays ran the bases for the first time since landing on the 10-day injured list on April 22 with a strained left calf muscle. He sprinted from third to home and wasn’t favoring the leg.

That was only part of his workout. The Orioles didn’t schedule batting practice but they arranged for Hays to take some swings on the field.

It was significant ramping of baseball activities after Hays had run the last two days, hit in the indoor cage and threw.

“Everything’s been going good,” he said. “I’ve been up to 90 percent of my game speed, so getting really close. Just got to check a couple more boxes, but everything we’ve done so far, there have been no setbacks, nothing negative. I think we’re getting really close.”

Hays could use an uninterrupted stretch of games. A stomach virus in spring training shed about 10 pounds from his frame, and he experienced a different illness in Pittsburgh. He went 4-for-29 down in Florida and is 5-for-45 this season with no extra base hits.

Before heading out to the field, Hays said he didn’t know whether he’d go on an injury rehab assignment to get some at-bats.

“We’re still trying to decide that, like, ‘OK, if you’re good in the next couple days, where are we going to be at?’” he said. “We’ll see once I check off all the sprinting boxes, baserunning, hitting. Just see what we decide.”

Manager Brandon Hyde sounded yesterday like he expected Hays to join an affiliate.

“Hopefully he can start doing some minor league games here pretty soon,” Hyde said.

Ryan McKenna started in center field yesterday against Yankees left-hander Carlos Rodón, an assignment that probably would have gone to a healthy Hays. Cedric Mullins is 4-for-31 against lefties.

McKenna hit his first homer since his walk-off on June 24, 2023 against the Mariners.

* Anthony Santander took two strikes yesterday against Rodón, worked the count full, reached down for a fastball and poked it into center field. A soft single at 69.4 mph, but the hard truth is that he needed it to fall.

Santander was batting .211/.287/.422 in 29 games and had five hits in his last 38 at-bats since collecting three doubles on April 20 in Kansas City.

Rodón’s stuff can be filthy, but Santander was batting .281/.400/.563 against left-handers before yesterday and .182/.232/.364 against right-handers. He had two homers and nine RBIs against both.

Santander was hit on the foot in his next at-bat and reached on a fielder’s choice and error in a four-run fifth. He faced right-hander Michael Tonkin in the seventh and flied to center on the 10th pitch.

“He got off to a little bit of a slow start last year, too,” Hyde said.

This is correct. Santander hit .213/.280/.362 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 25 games in March/April, and .337/.422/.634 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 27 games in May.

“He’s swinging the bat really well right-handed right now,” Hyde said. “Lefty, he looks just a little bit late. I think it’s a little bit mechanical, but I’ve got a lot of confidence that Tony’s gonna break out anytime.”

* Kyle Bradish made his 2024 debut and allowed one run and four hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five batters and probably could have kept going if he wasn’t working with the latest in inconsistent strike zones.

A catcher’s interference call on James McCann extended the first inning and prevented Bradish from retiring the side in order A hit-by-pitch and walk loaded the bases before Alex Verdugo grounded out.

Bradish threw 14 extra pitches after Aaron Judge reached on interference, and he finished at 84. Hyde wasn’t going to push him in his return from a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.

John Means makes his first start Saturday in Cincinnati, giving the rotation another shot in the arms while Grayson Rodriguez and Tyler Wells are on the injured list.

“It means a lot,” said outfielder Colton Cowser, who stayed in yesterday’s game after banging his right knee into the wall while chasing Juan Soto’s triple and being nailed on the foot by a pitch. “Bradish had a great year last year. Happy to see him come back. I know he was dealing with some stuff, but the rehab went well and looking forward to his starts.”

The team didn’t know when Bradish would pitch again after his diagnosis in January of a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The platelet-rich plasma injection was a step toward avoiding surgery, but no one was positive that it would work.

“Obviously, it’s kind of an unknown situation,” Cowser said. “I think that the training staff and doctors had a good plan for him and rehab went well. I’m happy for him that he’s able to come back from that, and looking forward to seeing how things go.”

* The Orioles are teaming again with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund to hold “Law Enforcement Appreciation Nights” on six dates.

Multiple seating options and discounted tickers start as low as $15. For every ticket sold, $5 will be donated to NLEOMF.

Here are the games:

Sunday, May 12 vs. the Diamondbacks, 1:35 p.m.
Monday, May 13 vs. the Blue Jays, 6:35 p.m.
Tuesday, May 14 vs. the Blue Jays, 6:35 p.m.
Wednesday, May 15 vs. the Blue Jays, 6:35 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 13 vs. the Nationals, 6:35 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 14 vs. the Nationals, 6:35 p.m.

For additional information, call 410-547-6119.

Bradish's return, unexpected contributions highlig...
Bradish returns, Mateo and McKenna homer off Rodón...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to